Study: Voting laws in U.S. may keep millions of Hispanics from casting ballots
Posted at: 09/24/2012 7:00 PM
| Updated at: 09/24/2012 7:04 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4
A new study finds voting laws around the country may keep 10 million Hispanics from voting.
While New Mexico doesn’t have a Voter ID Law in place, it is named among states making it more difficult for Latinos to vote.
A study from a national civil rights group says this could change the outcome of the presidential election in November.
A study from Advancement Project said 23 of 50 states, including New Mexico, have legal barriers that directly affect Hispanic registration and voting.
But not everyone agrees.
“I think the report kind of is a little unfair, jumps to conclusions,” said Paul Gessing, President of government watchdog group, Rio Grande Foundation. “It seems to imply that these elected officials are trying to take people's voting rights away from them. Where there haven't been any instances of that reported certainly that I've been aware of."
While the group doesn’t deal directly with election rules, Gessing supports Voter ID Laws.
New Mexico is among 16 states the study found that is pursuing a system that purges registered voters who are suspected of not being U.S. Citizens.
It shows New Mexico consists of 38 percent of eligible Hispanic voters; a percentage higher than Florida.
It also claims 62 percent of Hispanics in New Mexico are naturalized citizens. That percentage surpasses Arizona and Texas.
“I think we need patience, more patience than this particular report is illustrating in terms of understanding that elected officials have a difficult job that they're faced with trying to maintain the accuracy and integrity of the voter rules,” Gessing said.
The study says that in July, New Mexico requested data from Homeland Security to purge non-eligible voters.
That’s true. But the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office says Homeland Security has not responded.
“The Secretary of State would like to stress that our office is in no way pursuing any type of purging or removing registered voters prior to the November General Election,” said spokesperson Ken Ortiz.
We have posted a link to the entire report below.