NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama visited the Big Apple Friday to address the Rev. Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network.
The group is holding its annual convention at the Sheraton Times Square hotel.
Some major traffic problems are expected in the area as a result of the president’s visit.
Obama spoke to the crowd around 4 p.m. Friday and warned against erosion of the Voting Rights Act, and took issue with Republican measures in some states that make it more difficult for Americans to vote.
“In some places, women could be turned away from polls just because they’re registered under their maiden name but their driver’s license has their married name,” Obama said. “Senior citizens who’ve been voting for decades are suddenly told they can’t vote until they come up with the right ID.”
The president’s speech was part of the administration’s effort to mobilize voters and push back against state voting restrictions prompted by last year’s Supreme Court invalidation of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.
As they poured out of the conference hall on Friday the attendees told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria they were inspired by the president’s words on preserving the right to vote in America.
“He spoke on a lot of things that African-Americans, not only just us, but everybody has to be involved, has to get involved. We have to keep that right to vote,” said Bronx resident Cheryl Yancey.
Brooklyn resident Corey Rice told D’Auria he believes the president speaking at the National Action Network Convention shows the power of the organization and its leader Rev. Al Sharpton.
“I think it says something about whose doing the work and the effect National Action Network has had across the country,” Rice said.
Obama’s speech Friday comes a day after he marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas, where he praised Johnson’s understanding of presidential power and his use of it to create new opportunities for millions of Americans.
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