By Jorge Corralejo and Maria de Jesus Rosas
Let’s turn out to vote in great numbers this Tuesday and help return the US to a real democracy. We are faced with more and more unethical, if not criminal activity, these days, as the NY Times notes on 11/4/12, there are “malicious political forces determined to reduce access to democracy” Less than two years prior to this election, 17 states, with Republican Governors, have moved to suppress voters from participating in this particular election. Key targets are minorities, especially Latinos. Others targeted are seniors and youth. These are groups that are likely to vote Democrat. Some courts have recently rejected some of these laws, nevertheless, approximately 5 million people are still subject to many of these voter suppression efforts. This caused the Republican Governor of Pennsylvania to recently declare that this would cause his state to go to Romney.
The substance of voter fraud by Republicans, is, virtually non-existent. Investigative research has proven this over the past ten years. The only fraud has been found very recently, committed by Republicans that had been trashing absentee ballots in Democratic districts. Their efforts have taken so many more forms in addition to photo ID. The Brenan Center for Justice estimates that voter ID laws would disenfranchise 16% of the Latino vote. Other forms include reducing the options to vote early, limitations on same day registration, and other forms of restrictions and intimidation such as directing voters to the wrong voting locations and billboards with misinformation on the actual voting date.
A major Tea Party Republican talking point is that immigrants are taking over the country and they would use illegal documentation to vote. To this, again, they have no substantial evidence. Their vision is that Latinos are immigrants, in spite of the fact that for many of us, the histories of our families go farther back than many if not all of these critics. We must very seriously ask ourselves, in a democracy, does our thinking count? Also, does our vision for a future matter? The only means to combat this is to turn out in great numbers and reinforce what a limited number of courts have found, that these laws are unconstitutional. We must play a firm role in fighting this racial and ethnic voter cleansing movement which is also a fundamental assault to our country’s democratic system.
*Jorge Corralejo is a business owner for 29 years and the Chairman of the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles. Maria de Jesus is a business owner and the Treasurer of the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles