HOUSTON -

The head of the NAACP says the group's fight against conservative-backed voter ID laws that have been passed in several states is akin to the great civil rights battles of the 1960s.

Benjamin Todd Jealous, the CEO and president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told delegates at the group's annual convention on Monday in Houston that these are Selma and Montgomery times. He was referring to historic civil rights confrontations in Alabama.

"We can overcome the rising tide of voter suppression with a higher tide of voter registration, mobilization, activation and protection," Jealous said.

Many conservatives said voter identification laws are needed to stem voter fraud. Critics said voter fraud is rare and such laws are meant to suppress turnout among groups that tend to vote Democratic, including minorities.

"We must be prepared to defend voting rights and turn out voters on every corner and at every ballot box, so we can overcome those who seek to buy our country," Jealous said. "This law would allow you to vote using your gun license, but not your college student ID."