MAY 09, 2012 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Are voter ID laws driving down Black and Latino registration?

It's not unusual that the number of registered voters takes a dip between presidential elections, but the Washington Post reports that the numbers of registered Black and Latino voters has taken a drastic dive since 2008.

Just how drastic?

Using information from a 2010 Census Bureau report, the Post asserts that the number of registered Black voters fell by 7 percent. After nearly four decades of steady increase, the number of registered Hispanic voters dropped by about 5 percent. All told, that's 2 million Black and Latino votes that have vanished, many of them in key battleground states.

The Obama re-election campaign quickly released a statement on its blog questioning the WashPo's conclusions. According to the Obama camp:

...registration among Latinos and African Americans has never been higher. There are more Americans of both backgrounds registered to vote today than there were when President Obama was elected.

Republicans who wish The Washington Post's registration count is accurate will be disappointed by these facts. Registration numbers are rising in spite of GOP legislatures and governors in more than half of the states who have put up onerous hurdles that make it harder for Americans to vote—with the excuse that they're solving a non-existent epidemic of voter fraud.

So which is it? Are we to believe the Post or the Obama campaign? As the Huffington Post points out, quantifying the effect of voter suppression efforts is a challenge because not all states collect standardized data on racial and ethnic minorities.

For ColorOfChange, discriminatory voter ID laws will take center stage in the lead up to the 2012 election. We will be giving voters the tools they need to register to vote, gain access to polling places, and connect with each other virtually and on the ground. We're also working hard to get corporations to end their membership in ALEC, the right-wing group that has pushed discriminatory voter ID laws nationwide. Join us here.