NAACP Statement on the American Legislative Exchange Council AnnouncementApril 17, 2012
(Baltimore, MD) – NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous made the following statement on the decision by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to discontinue their Public Safety and Elections Task Force:
“We are encouraged that the nationwide campaign by civil rights advocates has forced ALEC to rethink its voter suppression and criminal protection work, but we know that for so many Americans, the damage has already been done,” said Jealous. “This year, because of ALEC, millions of voters who had been eligible to vote in 2008 will be denied access to the ballot box. We may never know how many families will be denied justice because of the ‘stand your ground’ laws that continue to put communities in danger, or how many families will torn apart under repressive anti-immigrant laws.”
ALEC has drafted hundreds of model bills, resolutions, and policy statements, disseminating them in state legislatures around the country. Their model bills formed the basis of the Voter-ID laws enacted in several states and the stand-your-ground legislation that gained national notoriety in the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder, in addition to anti-immigrant legislation like Alabama’s HB 56.
Jealous continued, “ALEC came to this decision after enough of their corporate sponsors, many of whom have been strong advocates of civil rights and public safety in the past, were made aware of their anti-democratic activities and dropped their support. The NAACP has been working with many of these courageous companies, and we will continue to monitor ALEC and make sure this move is more than just window dressing.”
Last December, the NAACP published a groundbreaking report, Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America, that exposed the role ALEC played in propagating voter ID laws. Later that month, the Association led a rally of 25,000 people in front of the New York headquarters of the ALEC-funders David & Charles Koch to protest the voter suppression measures.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.