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Around 25 million Latinos are eligible to cast ballots in the United States this year, which is more than 10 percent of the nation's total voting-age population. Latinos are reportedly more enthusiastic about voting this year than they were in 2008. A new study released Monday by the non-partisan Advancement Project concludes, however, that millions of them could be kept from voting because of restrictive new laws in nearly half the states. The project has been involved in litigation, some of it successful, to try to block the worst of these laws.

The report, "Segregating American Citizenship," found large numbers of Latinos could be disenfranchised because of voter-roll purges in 16 states, laws requiring proof of citizenship in three states and mandated photo-IDs in nine states. An estimated 16 percent of Latinos don't have the required ID, the study found.

Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis said:

The pattern is unmistakable. State after state has moved to obstruct the ability of millions of Latino citizens to participate in our democracy. This concerted effort targeting Latinos and other voters of color not only undermines the principles of our constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, but also impairs the fundamental American value of ensuring all citizens have an equal voice.
The situation in Florida illustrates one of the problems:
In 2000 and 2004 Florida purges were purportedly aimed at removing ineligible people with felony convictions from the rolls, but instead they erroneously identified tens of thousands of eligible citizens with no criminal records. These purges disproportionately harmed African Americans, who in 2000 showed up on Election Day to find that their names had been wrongfully removed from voter lists. The New York Times analyzed the impact of the illegal purge, “In a presidential election battleground state that decided the 2000 race by giving George W. Bush a margin of only 537 votes, the effect could be significant: black voters are overwhelmingly Democratic, while Hispanics in Florida tend to vote Republican.” But with the subsequent influx of nearly half a million Puerto Ricans in Central Florida and the changing loyalties of other Florida Latinos who are now more likely to vote Democratic,the purges have taken on a different target this year.

In April 2012, Florida initiated an admittedly inaccurate voter purge of alleged noncitizens. At least 82% of those on Florida’s April 2012 purge list of 2,600 registered voters are Latino, Black, or Asian American. In Miami-Dade County, where most of the targeted voters live, more than 98% of 562 people who responded to notice letters proved that they were indeed eligible U.S. citizens and thus mistakenly placed on the purge list.

States, like Pennsylvania, that have mandated restrictive photo ID laws for voting present a special problem for Latinos, particularly immigrants. It can be difficult for many of them to obtain the underlying documentation needed to prove they are who they say they are. Often, names on records don't exactly match. For immigrant Latinos born at home or informally adopted, the documents may not exist in the first place.

Photo ID requirements place an extra burden on Puerto Ricans because Puerto Rico has invalidated vast numbers of birth certificates issued before 2010 to curb widespread identity theft. Puerto Ricans are born citizens, but those living in the States must obtain a new birth certificate before they can get a photo ID.

Voter laws designed to present obstacles and sow confusion aren't all that keeps the Latino election turnout low. In a survey, nearly 30 percent said they were not registered, and 51 percent reported that they did not vote. That is nearly twice the percentage of non-Latino whites who are unregistered and compared with the 38 percent of whites who don't vote. Changing those statistics will require more than defeating voter suppression.

In that vein, the Advancement Project makes several recommendations, including: educating high schoolers about voting and giving them an on-campus chance to register; providing same-day registration (as California has just done); providing more bilingual resources—registration documents, voter information, civic education materials and ballots; training election officials to engage in more outreach into the Latino community; and, recruiting more Latino election officials.

The ultimate solution to the voter suppression that has been going on for decades but became so prominent in the past few years is to elect public officials who see it as their duty—their pro-active duty—to encourage all eligible citizens to register to vote and to ensure that their right to do so is not blocked by laws motivated by partisan advantage and special rules that have differential impacts. Universal suffrage is the cornerstone of democracy and it is no hyperbole that those who seek to make it less than universal are unAmerican.


hungrycoyote has a post on the subject here. Lefty Coaster has one here.


Today is National Voter Registration Day, whose importance you can read about here.

This widget allows you to print a state registration form that you can fill out and mail in. Or, if you live in a state that allows online registration, it will take you directly to the appropriate secretary of state's office where you can take care of business:

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Manifesto Initiative and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I guess that was the point (27+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't be comfortable about this Presidential race if our margins weren't so substantial. But there are a lot of downballot races where voter suppression will make the difference. To say nothing of the voter intimidation hordes that are preparing to descend on the polls in major urban areas.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:08:01 AM PDT

    •  Yes, even in Massachusetts which hasn't (12+ / 0-)

      passed voter suppression measures, Tea Partiers are being trained to be poll watchers.  They will be trying to disqualify voters on frivolous grounds, and if they don't suceed at that, they hope that the hassle being created will keep them from the polls next time.

      Also of concern should be this:

      Often, names on records don't exactly match.
      The custom of writing names in multiple styles affects voters of Portugese/Brazilian descent as well as Spanish-speaking Latinos.  For example, one document may contain both maternal and paternal surnames while another may not.

      "Now go out there and make me do it!" - Franklin Roosevelt

      by brae70 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:53:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As a poll watcher you cannot disqualify anyone (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        do you mean poll worker?  They are trained and most of them have done it for years, they are usually people from the neighborhood and know many of the people that come to vote.   I cannot see them involved in this.  The poll workers can bounce people that interfere with people being able to vote, most poll watchers are limited to looking at who has voted from their list and calling it in.

        •  In NM, in addition to poll watchers, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          spooks51, skyounkin, brae70, tikkun

          there are poll challengers. They can bring their concerns to the presiding judge, but the judge makes the final determination. If necessary, someone from the Bureau of Elections can be called. If a person is actually interfering with voting, the police can be called to remove him/her. We need to be prepared.

          Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

          by HappyinNM on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 10:29:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Vote early if you can in your state, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          so that you can be available on election day to volunteer for these positions.

          Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

          by HappyinNM on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 10:30:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was probably mistaken about the terminology. (0+ / 0-)

          The laws vary from state to state.  Who controls the local political machine is a factor in this.  Anyway, they plan to show up at the polling areas and look and act mencaing.
          Just standing there with a notebook can be menacing enough.

          "Now go out there and make me do it!" - Franklin Roosevelt

          by brae70 on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 05:20:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unless they have the roll books and the ballots (0+ / 0-)

            what they have to say means nothing.  You cannot electioneer within the polling place, it is supposed to be politically neutral.  They have to do their intimidation before you get there by dropping you off the rolls, that is the only way they can interfere with the vote.  If you are not on the rolls, they will give you a provisional ballot and chances are your vote will not count.

            •  They can do plenty from just outside (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the polling place.  Have you seen this diary?  In Mass there was a newspaper report that Tea Partiers had seen volunteers from community groups go into the booth with voters (perfectly legal if the voter requests it).  How would they know this if they weren't inside the polling place?  (Yes, it's possible that the story was inaccurate and just planted for intimidation purposes.)  

              Your comments are correct in the sense that some tactics ARE illegal.  But you seem to be dismissing some valid concerns.  

              "Now go out there and make me do it!" - Franklin Roosevelt

              by brae70 on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 06:14:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What I am saying is that in the polling places I (0+ / 0-)

                have watched and worked such crap would not be allowed.  You do not cross those poll workers.  They have their way of doing things and they are very precise.  They are not usually pushed around by outsiders.  They take their role n the process seriously.  

                We need to educate people that they need to come prepared.  They need to have their ID and to be sure they made it to the rolls before they get there.  Better yet, they need to stay out of the polls all together and vote by absentee ballot where they can.  No one can challenge you in the privacy of your own home.

                •  If they're professional, that's good. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  In other areas, not so much.  As this comment says:

                  There is another Target of the True The Vote(9+ / 0-)

                  hoodlum's planned intimidation, namely the poll workers. They expect that the majority of the poll workers will be elderly retirees who will be extremely easy to intimidate and confuse. I can visualize a situation where a True the Vote volunteer could make up some none-existant supposed voting requirement and then demand that the poll worker make voters currently checking in produce the "required documents" even though the voters are currently listed on the rolls.  With elderly poll workers this form of harrassment would likely result in complete processing confusion slowing down the lines of people waiting to vote. Such delays would be a realtime voting suppression discouraging many voters waiting in long lines.  

                  by otherwise on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 11:01:14 PM EDT

                  I am saying that we shouldn't just assume that officials will do the right thing.  As far as absentee voting, a teabag city clerk near here changed the procedure for voting so seniors with medical certification no longer had continuous absentee status.  They had to re-apply every election for an absentee ballot.  This change was made under the radar and the teabag mayor was re-elected by forty votes.  You have to keep an eye on them.  Ethnic identiry politics is still pretty strong around here and many Teabag Republicans and Blue Dog Dems are decidedly
                  May I ask what state you are in?  

                  "Now go out there and make me do it!" - Franklin Roosevelt

                  by brae70 on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 06:54:50 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ca but I have also worked in Texas in minority (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    area but only during primaries.  The area was AA and I can tell you NO ONE was keeping anyone from voting for Obama.
                    We had a near riot because the caucus did not start on time so they could caste their votes.  It was great.

  •  The only thing better than Obama winning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is romney losing because of ...

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:12:53 AM PDT

  •  Education is needed now (6+ / 0-)

    and our media isn't up to their jobs.

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:17:47 AM PDT

  •  Arizona has a long history of voter suppression (15+ / 0-)

    aimed at keeping our growing numbers of Latino voters from the polls. Hell, Wm. Rehnquist was famous as a young Phoenix lawyer in the 50s and 60s for challenging voters at the polls, much like the True the Vote assholes. In 2010, when she was Sec of State, Jan Brewer removed at least 100,000 people from the voter rolls—you guessed it, mostly Hispanic. Then in 2004 Arizona passed Prop 200, a voter ID law because, you know, illegals aliens were coming across the border and voting. Yeah, they said that, even though follow-up studies by the Sec of State's office did not find one incident.

    This year it's particularly meaningful. Obama is only down 3-5 points in Arizona! Sheriff Joe Arpaio is within spittin' distance of losing! And Richard Carmona has a slight lead over Jeff Flake for Jon Kyl's senate seat!  

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:18:31 AM PDT

  •  Having grown up in Miami... (4+ / 0-)

    ...around Republican Cuban-Americans, it is always hard for me to get my brain around the fact that Hispanics are by and large Democrats.  

    It has been hammered into my brain since birth that Cuban-Americans HATE the democrats b/c of Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs.  

    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:30:48 AM PDT

  •  Gov. Scott is an idiot... (5+ / 0-)

    for trying to remove Miami-Dade Hispanics from the voter rolls.  So many of them are going to vote for Romney.  Conventional wisdom for me is I don't discuss my political views with Hispanics in Miami b/c I will most likely offend them.

    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:33:31 AM PDT

  •  Please give us more ACTION links (5+ / 0-)

    Surely there are actions we can take. . . . positive actions rather than repeating bad news and chewing on it.

  •  I heard kos on last Friday's Stephanie Miller (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, rexxnyc

    show say..."voter suppression is not important"...he spoke of this election...and I believe we are fairly safe in this presidential race...but this could effect down ticket races and ballot measures...not mention 2014 and beyond.

    bad kos...can somebody wash his mouth out with soap..??


    We are not broke, we are being robbed.

    by Glen The Plumber on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 09:08:55 AM PDT

  •  Don't think of it as "suppressing the Latino vote" (5+ / 0-)

    Instead, think of it as "unskewing the white vote."

  •  this is why (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xsonogall, Glenn45, tikkun

    the gop are now challenging the polls as being inaccurate, they know they will suppress votes so by attacking the accuracy of the polls when they stop people from voting the numbers will coincide with their opinion of the polling.
    we had better get a large lead because many of obamas supporters will never get the chance to vote, many more then we even realize as of now.

    •  I agree 100% (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, mchestnutjr, PC, tikkun

      I will never feel comfortable with any polling lead knowing all these nefarious voter suppression and stealing schemes are in the works and the GOP controlling most of the swing state governments.

      I cannot find David Chambers funny at all knowing that Karl Rove will likely use his polling methodology to justify whatever hijinx he has got planned for stealing this election.

      "If these Republicans can't stand up to Rush, how can they stand up to the Iranians?" - Redmond Barry

      by xsonogall on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 06:51:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  READ THIS DIARY!!! (4+ / 0-)

    They can still steal this election. is organizing callers. I hope they will also coordinate registration information.

  •  English-only law (4+ / 0-)
    ...providing more bilingual resources—registration documents, voter information, civic education materials and ballots;...
    Prohibits the state from providing bilingual resources. Steve King got that through the Iowa legislature when he was a state senator. Now he has proposed a similar law at the federal level.
  •  New Mexico (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, tikkun
    Voter Suppression Laws To Keep 10 Million Latinos from Polls


    Voter Purges

    Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington are all attempting to purge “non-citizens” from their voter rolls. However, the methods used to determine citizenship are clumsy and often inaccurate. In Colorado and Florida, for example, officials tossed out registrations for any voters who were listed as immigrants on their driver’s license. However, the states failed to take into account, or deliberately ignored, people who became American citizens and then registered to vote without bothering to update their status on their license first.

    Voter Suppression in the Land of Enchantment
    Aura Bogado and Voting Rights Watch 2012 on August 3, 2012 - 11:40 AM ET


    Regardless of whether New Mexico is a swing state this November, and whether Governor Susana Martinez becomes Mitt Romney’s running mate, the Land of Enchantment state remains a place to watch. New Mexico has hardly figured in national news about voter suppression, in part because the state doesn’t have a voter ID law that is currently being challenged, and in part because its secretary of state is starting its own massive voter purge only this week, a relatively late date in the wave of purges. But an on-the-ground updated we’ve received from New Mexico may change our perception. It comes from the latest community journalist to join our Voting Rights Watch 2012 investigation, and it challenges us to really think about what voter participation means.

    ...  READ in full:

    Voter Suppression New Mexico
    By ProgressNow NM on August 9, 2012 5:00 AM


    Albuquerque -- Diane Wood has voted in every New Mexico election since 1971, but this week New Mexico Secretary of State Diana Duran began the process to terminate her right to vote.

    [See video in link below.]

    Just 9 days ago, Duran announced that an analysis by her office had identified 177,768 "non-residents and non-voters"  (a full 15% of the state's registered voters) whose voting rights would be terminated after a mailing to those legally registered voters was completed.


    New Mexico has an estimated 250,000 - 600,000 eligible but unregistered voters.

    "This is exactly what we have all been afraid of when the secretary of state acts unilaterally to terminate the right to vote for voters only she can identify," says Pat Davis of ProgressNow NM.  "Diane is just the first of the more than 177,000 legal voters to get this notice and it shows the incompetence of the secretary in administering our elections. How many more active voters were included in her massive purge of voters?"

    More here:

    NM Sec of State says voter suppression accusations are false
    By Rob Nikolewski On August 10, 2012


    “There is no voter suppression at work here,” Duran said from her office on Friday, insisting that it’s merely an attempt to clean up voter rolls in the state after the administration of former Secretary of State Mary Herrera did not conduct a purge of voter rolls in 2007 and then sent out postcards in 2009 that had to be withdrawn because of faulty information.


    Any actual removing of names from the rolls cannot happen until 2015, as the Department of Justice instructed the Secretary of State’s office last fall (see story here). [emphasis added]

    [See video in link.]

    At least the Department of Justice interrupted Secretary of State Duran's office from removing the names from the rolls... but will she follow those instructions?  Or will they purge some anyway.  I don't trust her or Gov. Martinez to play dirty.

    I worry this confusion will cause many New Mexicans to stay home. I have received one card from Duran.  It is very vague and confusing. There is nothing on my card allowing a change of address for the recipient to fill out, contrary to what Duran says the card has on it's face.  

    But then, in New Mexico, I always worry about voter suppression.  In past elections the right hand never really knows what the left hand is doing and precincts are in chaos, there have been many lost voter registrations, lost ballots.  Questions about rigged voting machines.  So yeah, the desperation of the Righties this time around... I don't have a lot of faith this election will be clean for Latinos or anyone with a (D) by their name.

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:40:28 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps I'm just naive... (0+ / 0-)

    ...but I keep thinking this will lead to higher turnout.

    Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune. Walt Whitman

    by Sacramento Dem on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:48:20 PM PDT

  •  I'm sure people think (0+ / 0-)

    I'm insane, but I think they're blowing it on purpose.  Low voter turn out on the Dem side with ridiculous voter suppression and voter fraud means they can take this one.

    Just a thought and then I come back to reality.

    My 8-year-old, Charlotte, asked if Herman Cain's tax plan was called, "Mine, mine, mine!"

    by Ellinorianne on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 09:11:28 PM PDT

  •  Repubs are setting this up to work like it did in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mchestnutjr, tikkun

    Florida in 2000.  Make it close enough and then use the courts and Repubs in positions of power in the states to bring home the victory.  The polls will be close until Nov. 6 so Americans will be able to say, well it was close anyways, so it doesn't matter who won.  

  •  Hoist by their own petard maybe? (0+ / 0-)

    I've been in contact with  about 100 early/absentee ballot voters since June: only the Dems. They are mostly elderly and none of them drive: our polling station is in our community so that's not too much of a problem if they don't get their ballots by mail as usual. I'll arrange transportation.

    About 1/2 of them didn't know the rules had changed in Florida and that they had to re-request a ballot for the General Election. A few of them missed the Dem. Primary in August. I'm guessing that the same is true for the elderly Republican voters.  Unless they have boots on the ground here like me, there will be fewer votes for Romney too.

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