Block the Vote! A warning to Latino citizens | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Block the Vote! A warning to Latino citizens

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM

URGE TO PURGE?: Secretary of State Mark Martin.
  • URGE TO PURGE?: Secretary of State Mark Martin.
The Arkansas AFL-CIO is calling attention to a civil rights organization's finding that there's a great likelihood of suppression of Latino votes in 23 states, including Arkansas, because of actions by Republicans such as Voter ID laws to discourage voting by typical Democratic constituencies.

The release from Alan Hughes is on the jump. It's aimed at some 48,000 Latino citizens who could get hassled if Republican efforts elsewhere are replicated here.

Here's a link to the full report.

Arkansas voters are asked to show ID at the polls, but are not required to do so. It makes the list because Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin has requested a Homeland Security list already used in Florida in an effort to suppress voting.

The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) list of Homeland Security is used in combination with voter registration and driver license information. But the list is not comprehensive or accurate and the comparisons also are often flawed because of citizenship status granted after driver's licenses were obtained.

In Florida, the results were telling:

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.

Martin's office previously has been evasive about its plans for use of this data. I've asked again today for more specifics — have they received the SAVE list and how do they plan to use it?

There's no doubt what will transpire in future years with a Republican legislative majority — Voter ID, voter list purges and all the other tactics will be used to suppress unfriendly voter blocs to ensure a permanent majority.

UPDATE: Martin's office remains coy. From spokesman Alex Reed:

Yes. There has been no change. We have not received yet. When we do, we will review it, and make a determination then. Our office does not remove voters. That is tasked to the Clerks.

Sept. 26 - According to a report released this week by the Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization, 23 states including Arkansas have enacted legal barriers that disproportionately affect Latinos around voter registration and participation. In Arkansas, 48,000 Latino citizens of voting age may be disproportionately impacted by restrictive voter laws. Nationwide, the report found, these voter suppression laws and policies could keep more than 10 million American citizens from registering and voting in the 2012 elections.

The report, entitled “Segregating American Citizenship: Latino Voter Disenfranchisement in 2012,” also found that policies that supposedly are meant to purge non-citizens from voter rolls actually target and suppress the vote of naturalized citizens, most of whom are Latino. In Arkansas, out of 34,745 of naturalized citizens 39.28 percent are Latino.

“Voter suppression laws and policies threaten to relegate eligible Latino voters to second- class citizenship and impede their ability to participate fully in American democracy,” the report concludes. “Like African Americans, Latinos have experienced decreased access and correspondingly lower levels of voter registration and participation than non-Hispanic Whites.”

“The right to vote of every person is a core American value. Working families are appalled that these discriminatory and politically motivated policies would be employed in Arkansas,” said Alan Hughes. “Working Arkansans believe that every citizen living in Arkansas has and should have the right to vote regardless of ethnicity, class, or age. We call on elected leaders to ensure that’s the case.”

The report comes as millions of Americans across the nation participate in Voter Registration Day this week.

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