Jaime Cuervo in the voting booth
10 million Latino voters in peril to lose their right this fall.
The civil rights group The Advancement Project (TAP) warns that 10 million Latino voters may be unable to cast their votes in the November 6t election. There are no subtleties surrounding the culprit in the report they released on September 24, newly enacted vote-restricting legislations are to blame.
These restrictions range from severe impediments to voter registration drives and early-voting rules to restrictive voter ID requirements.
According to TAP, 23 states currently have legal barriers that target – or as TAP more politically correct puts it – “disproportionately impact” voter registration and participation by Latino citizens. In many of these states the number of Latino voters who may lose their eligibility due to these provisions exceeds the margin of victory in the 2008 elections. Scary, huh?
The excuse given by the cheerleaders of these new pieces of legislation is that they curb some rampant and unchecked voter fraud going on nationwide. This alleged voter fraud is so hard to prove that critics of these legislations characterize them as a solution in search of a problem.
As accurate as such characterization may be however, it feels a bit too benevolent to me since these restrictions may very well end up causing actual, verifiable voter fraud if they work as designed.
Allow me to illustrate with some facts.
In the battleground state of Colorado, Secretary of State Scott Glesser – a local Republican rising star – claimed that 11,805 non-citizens where on the voters rolls. The republican controlled government in Florida made an even more outrageous claim. According to the sunshine state’s Division of Elections, 180,000 voters weren’t citizens of the United States.
After extensive and expensive combing of voter lists in Florida and Colorado it was found that less than one-tenth of one percent of non-citizens registered to vote, a far cry from the alleged thousand of illegally registered voters these states claimed existed. The actual figures were 141 in Colorado and 207 in Florida.
None of this has deterred these states from issuing letters to certain citizens questioning their right to vote and asking for further proof of citizenship. Citizens in Texas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania have challenged some of these restrictions in court. Texas has sided with the plaintiffs and in Florida a judged ruled unjust the restrictions on voter registration drives. Other cases are yet to be decided.
The ultimate point however, is that risking the voting rights of 10 million Latino citizens to prevent non-existent voter fraud seem highly suspicious and the excuse disingenuous. Court challenges may correct some of the situation, but every voter must remain vigilant, alert, and above all informed. At the end of the day, each one of us is responsible for our own vote. Don’t let anyone take it from you.