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Report: New Laws Could Disenfranchise 10 Million Latino Voters

- Common Dreams staff

Regressive voting laws pushed by Republican controlled legislatures in 23 states across the country could keep more than 10 million Latino citizens from registering and voting this year, according to a new study to be released Monday.

Voter ID laws have become increasingly popular in what many suspect is a ploy to suppress the minority vote. (Source: colorlines.com) The new report by the Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights organization, is the first state-by-state analysis of how voter suppression efforts will thwart the ability of Latino citizens to have their voices heard at the polls. The analysis will also look at such voter suppression could impact election results both within specific states and nationally.

Overall, the Latino vote in the US makes up approximately 10 percent of the electorate. In many states, according to the report, the number of eligible Latino citizens that could be affected by new state laws exceeds the margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election.

And Reuters reports:

Laws in effect in one state and pending in two others require proof of citizenship for voter registration. That imposes onerous and sometimes expensive documentation requirements on voters, especially targeting naturalized American citizens, many of whom are Latino, the liberal group said.

Nine states have passed restrictive photo identification laws that impose costs in time and money for millions of Latinos who are citizens but do not yet have the required identification, it said.

Republican-led state legislatures have passed most of the new laws since the party won sweeping victories in state and local elections in 2010. They say the laws are meant to prevent voter fraud; critics say they are designed to reduce turnout among groups that typically back Democrats.

Decades of study have found virtually no use of false identification in U.S. elections or voting by non-citizens. Activists say the bigger problem in the United States, where most elections see turnout of well under 60 percent, is that eligible Americans do not bother to vote.

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