Obama Campaign Grapples With New Voter ID Laws
WASHINGTON — Field workers for President Obama’s campaign fanned out across the country over the weekend in an effort to confront a barrage of new voter identification laws that strategists say threaten the campaign’s hopes for registering new voters ahead of the November election.
Many of the laws in question — including the ones in Florida and Wisconsin — are the subject of legal challenges by Democratic groups who say they are part of a partisan, Republican effort to dampen the turnout of voters, particularly members of minority groups, for Mr. Obama and his party.
But senior aides to Mr. Obama said the campaign was preparing for the laws to be upheld and in force this fall — just in case.
“We have to assume that these laws will be in effect in November,” Jeremy Bird, the field director for the campaign, said in an interview. “We are not allowing laws that are challenging and put in our way to stop us from doing what we need to do.”
Campaign officials declined to put a price tag on the new efforts to comply with voter identification laws, saying the extra time and expense were being built into the budgets for each state’s campaign.
Four years ago, Mr. Obama’s campaign used novel approaches to expand the pool of voters, including registration drives at barbershops and beauty salons in African-American neighborhoods. The campaign plans to expand those efforts, setting up voter registration outposts in those settings.
If the new state laws prevent the campaign from reaching those goals, it could cost Mr. Obama a second term.
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