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Does voter protection lead to voter suppression? Why aren’t more eligible Latinos voting?!

Matt Swaney, The Denver Post

Matt Swaney, The Denver Post

The U.S. Supreme court ruled that Arizona couldn’t demand proof of citizenship from people using the federal form application. In response, a bill has been introduced to allow states to verify a voter’s citizenship status. The number of false registrations is rarely mentioned; what is driving these efforts?

At this time, Arizona passed a new bill which the governor promptly signed. House Bill 2305 will effectively make it more difficult for a person to deliver an early ballot for another voter. This impacts the elderly and poor. Now the voter and collector must sign an affidavit, an extra step. Another aspect of this bill restricts the permanent early voter list. The county will remove a person from the list if they haven’t cast their early ballot in four consecutive elections over two years. If a voter receives a postcard they must respond to remain. This is a concern given that recently this same county has sent out incorrect dates in Spanish language mailings. What if the postcard isn’t received, how easy is it to remain on the list. The argument given for this change was too many people are turning in an early ballot on the day of the election. This leads to a delay in reporting the election outcome. Possible reasons for turning in an early ballot the day of the election are voters need time to consider the issues, inflexible work schedules or procrastination. The ability to simply drop off your ballot and avoid long lines is invaluable for a working person. Instead of this restrictive bill, why not improve the ballot counting system?

This country has a long history voter suppression. The techniques of today seem more sophisticated, wrapped with words like integrity. I acquired my voter card before I had my driver’s license. I’ll jump through the metaphorical hoops but why hinder a vote. As I reviewed the recent voting statistics I had to wonder what was driving these efforts. The census in 2012 reported Latinos had a 48 percent voting rate, a slight increase since 1996 when the Latino voting rate was at 44 percent. Why don’t Latinos vote more, are we suppressing ourselves?  Is there a reason you’re not voting or are there efforts in your area which make it unnecessarily challenging?


Julia Perez is an electrical engineer and contributing writer for Being Latino.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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