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NAACP says Tea Party 'poll watchers' are out to suppress minority vote

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BURGAW, NC (WWAY) -- With early voting underway and thousands hitting the polls, one group is openly trying to challenge minorities' right to vote in North Carolina. That is according to the state NAACP, which claims that the Tea Party is behind it all.

Checking photo ID when you go to vote is not legal in North Carolina, but the NC NAACP says some are working around the law to personally suppress the black vote. The group claims black and minority voters need to beware at the polls, claiming certain members of the right wing Tea Party movement are determined to suppress the minority vote through signing up to be poll watchers and asking for photo ID.

“There’s also other voting suppression tactics by putting false things on computers, like you can vote online or having phone calls that give information,” says Rev. William Barber, NC NAACP President.

Barber says the evidence is in a recent report released by the organization entitled "Abridging the Vote, " published by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

“This is not something we're just making up,” Barber says. “The report was done by one of the best researchers in the world. You can look it up online. There's a full report.”

Thursday evening, area NAACP chapters hosted a rally entitled "If We Ever Need To Vote We
Sure Need To Vote Now." Barber was the guest speaker, preaching to the audience about the Tea Party intimidation tactics and how to avoid them.

However, Tony McGhee, a black Tea Party member says there is no truth to the claims.

“I think it's a false accusation,” he says. “And I can't deny anyone from having the perspective or perception of things but I have a different perspective and perception. I think it's a false accusation.”

McGhee says voter fraud is a serious problem in North Carolina and poll watchers are only trying to prevent it, but Barber seems to think McGhee is out of his league.

“He’s talking as a guy of the Tea Party that just started,” the reverend says. “We're talking from an organization that has been around 103 years and an organization that anything that the NAACP has ever done has been good for America and good for North Carolina.”

McGhee and Barber did agree on one thing, and that is to keep your cool and a watchful eye out while at the polls. They also advise to speak with a polling judge if you think something is not right.

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