New voter ID laws in 23 states have the potential to disenfranchise up to 10 million Latinos by preventing them from voting or discouraging them from registering, according to a new study from the civil rights group The Advancement Project.The Advancement Project said Monday that the laws have the potential to significantly alter the outcome of the election in multiple states.
The group said the number — almost half the Latino population in the U.S. — is based on U.S. Census Bureau data from the 23 states they highlighted. In three of the 23 states — Colorado, Florida and Virginia — the group said that the number of potential disenfranchised voters exceeds the 2008 margin of victory.
“State after state has moved to obstruct the ability of millions of Latino citizens to participate in our democracy,” said Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of The Advancement Project.
“This concerted effort targeting Latinos and other voters of colour 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.”
According to Census data, about 21 million Latinos are citizens of the United States. The demographic makes up approximately 9 per cent of the electorate in 2008. In some swing states, like Colorado (13 per cent) and Florida (26 per cent), the number was marginally higher.
Polls have shown President Barack Obama with anywhere from a 30- to 40-point lead on Mitt Romney among Latino voters, though recent polls have shown that number closing a bit.
There are three types of ways The Advance Project says Latinos could be affected in the 23 states: “Purges” of registered voter rolls in 16 states, proof-of-citizenship requirements in three states, and new photo ID laws in nine states.
Here’s a look at the states affected:
Photo: The Advancement Project
Republicans used sweeping electoral victories in 2010 to enact most of the restrictive voting measures, which conservatives claim are designed to protect against voter fraud. Liberal critics say the real purpose of those laws is to suppress groups sympathetic to Democrats from voting.
“The voter ID laws are part of bigger effort to manipulate laws and policies from their own political gain,” said Cathy Culliton-Gonzalez, The Advancement Project’s director of voter protection, on a conference call. “Latino targeting corresponds to what we see in terms of the polls as support for President Obama.”
“Voting should be a time when we are all equal,” Culliton-Gonzalez added.
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