( The Root ) -- "Our duty today," said Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, before a crowd of African-American clergy members, "is to remember that the Bible tell us: 'For lack of knowledge, the people perish.' "

A voter (L) stand at a voting machine at a polling station April 3, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/GETTY IMAGES)

The Washington, D.C., forum, attended by members of Congress and about 200 leaders from black churches across the country, was designed to inform attendees about restrictive state-level voting laws passed around the country and to empower them to share with their home congregations information about surmounting subsequent voting obstacles.

The event's first panel summarized various laws that have passed around the nation from 2010 to 2012, including measures that do the following:

* Require people to present a birth certificate, or other proof of U.S. citizenship, in order to register to vote.

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