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Civil Rights Group: Voter ID Laws Could Disenfranchise Minorities


Aired 9/26/12

A nonprofit's survey found that additional voting requirements in 23 states could conspire to keep Latinos and other minorities from the polls.


Segregating American Citizenship: Latino Voter Disenfranchisement in 2012

Segregating American Citizenship: Latino Voter Disenfranchisement in 2012

This report finds that 23 states currently have legal barriers that disproportionately impact voter registration and participation by Latino citizens.

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— Voter suppression has been a hot topic this election season, as legislatures across the country have adopted laws imposing new requirements on voters. A new report by the Advancement Project, a civil rights group, says these provisions exist in 23 states, and could keep Latinos and other minorities from the polls this November.

The policies include laws requiring voters show photo identification at the polls or prove their citizenship when registering, as well as efforts to remove people believed to be non-citizens from voting lists.

"These policies are a threat to Latino voters. We need to really organize and fight back," said Penda Hair, the group’s co-director.

Advocacy groups like hers have opposed these policies, saying they impose a heavier burden on minorities like Latinos, who are more likely to live in poverty or lack the time or transportation required to get the documents they need. Voting list purges in Florida were discovered to have erroneously removed naturalized citizens from the voting rolls.

Those advocacy groups are in a kind of tug-of-war with groups they accuse of trying to suppress participation by minority voters.

Linda Paine founded California’s Election Integrity Project, which trains poll watchers to look out for voter fraud. Though she’s not pushing for a voter ID requirement in California, she supports the effort elsewhere, saying it prevents people from casting a fraudulent ballot.

“It’s an easy thing to do if all you have to do is look at the list that’s hanging outside the door, write it down on a piece of paper, and go in and hand it to a poll worker, and then it’s just passed right on down and you sign the book," she said.

She said her group is interested in ensuring that every legitimate vote is counted.

But advocacy groups point out that documented cases of voter fraud are very low -- in some cases anecdotal at best -- and that in effect, poll watchers serve to intimidate voters, and that additional voting ID requirements run the risk of disenfranchising minorities.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | September 26, 2012 at 9:46 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

Ms. Paine, just be aware that me and other voters will be watching you watching us.

And the second one of your unnecessary watchdogs does something inappropriate voting officials and the media will be notified.

With all the real problems in the world today, it's really sad that you and your people are wasting so much energy on a non-existent problem.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | September 26, 2012 at 9:54 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

"Though (Ms. Paine) she’s not pushing for a voter ID requirement in California, she supports the effort elsewhere, saying it prevents people from casting a fraudulent ballot".

TRANSLATION: California is not a swing states so partisan operatives like Ms. Paine aren't pushing for their voter suppression laws - they only want to do this in swing states.

The transparent political agenda of these people would be laughable if it weren't for the fact they are disenfranchising so many people.

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Avatar for user 'Gary1'

Gary1 | November 24, 2012 at 9:49 p.m. ― 4 years, 3 months ago

I was absolutely shocked at how easy it would be for someone to vote several times. I lost my mail in ballot, and walked in the polling station, telling them what happened. I tried to show them my driver's license to prove who I was, and they told me specificaly to NOT show it to them. All someone would have to do is get a name and address, claim to be that person early in the morning, and vote. I do not believe the reports that voter fraud is almost non-existant. I saw an article that said in one congressional district or state, 15,000 votes were cast by dead people and people claiming that they lived at business addresses, vacant lots, and addresses that do not exist. As far as having a voter ID disinfranchising minority and low income voters, this is absolutely not true. People with low income manage to come up with ID for public assistance such as food stamps, and the statement about minorities is very racist. This statement implies that minorities are too stupid, or lazy to get an ID. This statement is the height of arragance! I think that Mexico has an excellent system to register voters. A voter needs 3 documents: Proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate, proof of residence such as a utility bill, and eligibility to vote. They then get a voter's card, and this card is often used for other ID because of the difficulty of faking it. I would be all for this system. The racist claim is always pulled out when someone has no proof to back up their claim. These are the people who have something to gain by pitting one segment of society against another.

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