Voter ID Laws May Stop US Hispanics From Voting
The News
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August 4, 2012

In 2011, Florida made some important changes to its voting laws. Ever Floridian needs to understand these changes particularly African Americans, Latinos, young voters, and women. These changes address how civic groups register people to vote, who is eligible to vote and when people can vote. Watch this video to ensure you know how to register to vote and what to bring with you to the voting booth! (MyCuentame.org)

The Latino community in the United States faces a series of challenges to vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

Carlos Vargas-Ramos, a professor at New York University, said that Latinos’ main political concerns are about the economy and employment, but new voter laws might prohibit many Latinos from getting to voting booths this November.

Ten states in the U.S. have implemented or passed laws requiring voters to bring photo ID with them on election day.

Opponents of the law say that the laws are discriminatory toward Latinos, African Americans, the elderly and other minority groups. According to a study published by the Brennan Center of Justice at the New York University School of Law last month, more than 1 million eligible voters in the country live below the poverty line and more than 10 miles away from their closet government office that issues IDs.

The center said that the laws, if enforced, would prevent about a half a million people from voting in the election.

Proponents say that the laws will cut down on voter fraud.

The states of Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin have either passed or implemented voter-ID laws.

Polls show that Latinos generally favor President Barack Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney and many contend that Republicans are using the new laws to keep Latinos and minorities away from polling booths.

The real issue is that Latino voters have moved toward the Democratic party while “the Republicans tend to promote xenophobia,” said Vargas-Ramos. “This has been a brillant strategy by the Republicans.”

In July, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turazi said the law “is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

About 23 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the U.S., but only 12 million have registered. José Calderón, the president of U.S.-based civil organization Hispanic Federation, denounced the law, calling it “ridiculous” and “unjust.”

“They let one vote with an ID from the National Rifle Association,” he quipped. “One does not need an ID to pay taxes.”

In Mexico, people must bring a state-issued voter ID to vote.

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