BY JAMES HARPER
Dale Ho, assistant counsel for political participation for the NAACP’s National Legal Defense and Education Fund, will be the featured speaker at the Daytona Beach’s NAACP 39th Annual Freedom Fund and Awards Banquet. The event is scheduled for May 11 at The Plaza Resort and Spa, 600 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach.
“The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) is the country’s first and foremost civil and human rights law firm,” Daytona Beach NAACP President Cynthia Slater said.
Ho joined the staff of LDF in September 2009 as assistant counsel in the Political Participation Group.
His work at LDF includes litigation under the Voting Rights Act, felon disfranchisement, prison-based gerrymandering, barriers to registration, and ballot access.
Government to review new laws
Slater said Ho is expected to talk about the lawsuit the LDF filed in September 2011 on behalf of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP and African-American voters to prevent the state from implementing discriminatory voting laws.
“Our clients have an important story to tell the court about the discriminatory impact that Florida’s proposed changes would have on its minority voters,” Ho said in a press release.
In the lawsuit, Florida v. United States, the state asks a federal court to approve, under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, voting measures that would significantly alter Florida’s voting process.
Five counties in Florida are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. As a consequence, statewide voting changes in Florida cannot be implemented until the federal government has reviewed them and determined that they will not have a discriminatory effect on minority voters.
Under the proposed law, Florida would cut the number of early voting days available in half.
Disenfranchisement of the Black vote
Blacks made up a large percentage of early voters during the 2008 election.
Slater said African-Americans comprised nearly 20 percent of early voters despite being only about 12 percent of the electorate.
“Overall, more than half of African-American voters in Florida voted during the early voting period in 2008,” she continued.
“The proposed voting law also imposes severe restrictions on organizations that conduct voter registration drives and places new provisional ballot requirements on voters who move before Election Day,” Slater also noted.
For two years prior, Ho was the NAACP LDF Fellow at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where he litigated complex commercial matters and federal civil rights cases. He previously served as a law clerk, first to Judge Barbara S. Jones, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then to Judge Robert S. Smith, New York Court of Appeals. His writings have appeared in the Florida Law Review, the Harvard Black Letter Law Journal, and the Michigan Journal of Race and Law.
Ho graduated from Yale Law School with a J.D. in 2005, and from Princeton University with an A.B. in Political Philosophy, Highest Honors, in 1999.
Lenny Williams set to perform
As reported in the Daytona Times last month, after the awards and speaker are concluded R&B legend Lenny Williams will be performing some of his classics, including the mega hit “Cause I Love You,” which he recorded as a solo artist. He also is known for “So Very Hard To Go,” which he recorded as the lead singer of the group Tower of Power.
“We have planned another very special event this year as we honor individuals and corporations who have worked and dedicated their time to ensure positive changes in our community,” Slater said.
Williams is scheduled to perform at 9 p.m. The ticket price for the concert and banquet is $65.
Slater says she still needs support from the community to make this year’s banquet a success. She also is seeking major sponsors for the event.
For more information on tickets and sponsorship, call 386-255-3736.