Racist accusations continue as the voting battle moves west

Austin, Texas (AP) — The Arizona Parliament was discussing one of several Republican proposals to overhaul the vote when Republican Senator Michelle Ugenti Rita said it was enough.

“I don’t like being considered upholding discriminatory law!” She told Democrats that the bill would hurt Latin American and Native American voters.

However, Phoenix-born Latin Democratic Senator Martin Quezada did not retreat. “This will hurt my community. This will hurt my neighborhood.”

“And we keep this,” he continued.

Indeed, Democrats are escalating their accusations that Republicans are calling for stronger state voting laws, which are designed to make it harder for voters to vote. As the fight moves from the Deep South to the Southwest, it is increasingly focused on the impact of the proposal on Latin American and Native American voters — a group with a clear history of fighting for voting rights.

“Arizona, Texas, and some southwestern states have a long and terrible history of voter oppression against Latin Americans as well as African Americans,” said Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Said. Fighting the new voting bill is “our top priority,” he added.

But Republicans are fighting back after seeing how Democrats have successfully labeled Georgia’s GOP-backed legislation as racists. They blew up Democrats because what they said was a lie about the plan. Texas Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick accused opponents of “borderline feeding” last week.

The debate takes place in a broader battle for the loyalty of Latin voters. Most Latino Americans were generally Democratic, but Republican then-President Donald Trump made a profit among Latino Americans last year. Some Democrats see the voting debate as an opportunity to beat those voters.

Republicans across the country have made hundreds of new proposals to strengthen voting and election law — in response to Trump’s false allegations that he was denied re-election due to fraudulent elections. Trump and his supporters lost more than 50 proceedings to challenge the election, and repeated audits did not find any serious fraud. However, Trump continues to insist on widespread misconduct.

The first major legislative struggle took place in Swing State, where Republicans proposed to end Sunday’s early voting, which many black voters vote for, among other measures.That provision has been removed from the final law, but Democratic President Joe Biden said Nevertheless, he denounced this measure as “Jim Crow in the 21st century.” References to the law that the southern states once used to block the voting of black citizens.

Arizona and Texas, which are currently considering new voting methods, have a unique history of racism on ballots.

From the beginning of the 20th century, Arizona required voters to pass the English literacy test. This is a requirement that was outlawed only under the Civil Rights Act of 1965. In 1960, the future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist, helped launch Operation Eagleeye, a polling surveillance operation that critics say was designed to intimidate Latin voters.

Texas also used literacy tests to limit Latino participation. The states of the early 20th century formed groups such as the Ballot Purification League to eliminate Latino Americans from the voter roster. An armed white crowd flocked to the Mexican-American voting area in 1928.

Today, the Republican proposal being considered in Texas targets the diverse and democratic cities of the state. The bill uses a formula that includes the number of voters per region to limit polling stations in more than one million counties. This can result in longer ballot lines, especially in areas with high immigrants. All local election authorities are prohibited from sending ballot mailing applications to voters or creating “drive-through” voting locations to facilitate voting. Participatory poll watchers are allowed to record voters on videotape until they fill out the ballot, but this is not included.

No law explicitly mentions race, but the voting group states that it has a long history of using what appears to be the strictest race-neutral voting restrictions for voters.

“These bills are very racial. They use the term that has historically been associated with racist elections,” said the Mexican-American Legal Defense Education Fund litigant. Vice President Nina Perales said.

Texas was one of the phenomenon hubs that surprised many analysts in November. That’s when Latin voters moved to Trump’s column. The majority of Texas Latinos still voted for the Democratic Party, but the shift to the right was noticeable, especially in rural areas. An analysis by democratic group Equis Research found that Trump scored 12 percent points primarily in the Hispanic Rio Grande Valley.

The analysis also found that Trump laid ground in a fairly Latino district of Arizona, but not as much as in other parts of the country.

Now, Democratic groups hope that the promotion of new votes will bring an opening with Trump-minded Latino Americans.

“If their votes are very important to these members, their opinions, if their views are very important to these members, why they make it particularly difficult for their votes to be counted. Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, Secretary-General of Jolt Action, a Hispanic advocate, will discuss voter restrictions with Latino Americans in future outreach.

In Arizona, there are two major voting bills on the table. The first removes people from the state’s email voting list if they miss two consecutive election cycles and don’t respond to postcard notifications. Democrats say one-third of the 150,000 voters at risk of being dismissed because of the law are Latino Americans.

Other major voting proposals require a vote with a driver’s license number to cast the ballot, or with a voter identification number if it is not available. However, in some Arizona counties, it is only available with a driver’s license number. Activists and Democrats claim that Latin Americans, especially Native Americans (the state’s major Democratic voting block), are unlikely to have a license.

Latino groups such as Mi Familia Vota and Poder Latinx have accused the proposal as a racist, and activists have repeatedly testified in the Arizona Capitol. ..

Republican member John Kavanagh of the Arizona House of Representatives Election Commission said the ID number bill has been rewritten and has no racist intent from his side of the political aisle. Republicans have proposed to disqualify ballots that arrived after Friday before the election day, and to allow Congress to invalidate voters’ will and elect state electors in the presidential election. He said he had killed many of the most controversial proposals.

He said the law to remove people from the mail list would only trim voters who may have moved or died. “Their Jim Crow’s argument is not true, it’s a vicious political lie to deceive the public,” Cabana said of Democrats.


Riccardi reported from Denver. Phoenix Associated Press writer Jonathan J. Cooper contributed to this report.

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