New Florida law blocking Latinos from voting, say groups
Florida, an important swing state, is seeing a drop in voter registrations compared to the same time in 2008. Latina immigration attorney Elizabeth Pines, who has been helping to organize voter registration efforts as one of the board directors of the non-partisan Florida League of Women Voters, says that is no surprise. For the first time since 1939, she says, her group is not doing voter registration drives, since she says the Republican-led state legislature has made voter registration too difficult.
“We are not going to expose our volunteers to this,” says Pines. As part of the new restrictions on community-based voter registration drives, volunteers have to fill out extensive forms, go to a local elections office and take an in-person oath, and be financially responsible for handing it “late” registration forms. If a community group does not hand in new registered voter forms in exactly 48 hours, they have to pay 50 dollars for every person registered to vote.
“Why do this?” says Pines. ”Voter fraud in Florida is virtually non-existent,” she adds. And the worst part, says Pines, is that these restriction have resulted in one thing.
“Fewer people will register and vote, especially Latinos, African Americans and students,” she says.
One of the new law’s sponsors, Republican legislator Miguel Díaz de la Portilla, said that “by tightening regulations…we are ensuring that anyone who fills out a voter registration application actually gets registered to vote in a timely manner.” He added it will provide more transparency and avoid voter fraud.
Read the full story at NBC Latino