published Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Georgia’s Hispanics watch voter eligibility lawsuit

Advocates for Hispanics and others have asked to intervene in a lawsuit by the state of Georgia against the U.S. attorney general over procedures to verify voter eligibility during voter registration.

Georgia filed suit in June after it couldn’t get the U.S. Justice Department’s OK to change requirements for voter registration. Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Georgia is among several states with a history of discriminating against minority voters that must get federal approval to change its election system.

The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials and other groups don’t dispute that Georgia has the authority to determine voter verification rules, GALEO Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez said.

“But they do have the burden, because of (Georgia’s) history of discrimination when it comes to voting, to prove that any procedures that they implement are nondiscriminatory,” he said.

A 2007 Georgia law requires people to provide citizenship status along with identifying information when they register to vote.

The U.S. Justice Department said the move required federal government approval, and several advocacy groups filed suit because the state didn’t get what’s known as “preclearance” to institute the law.

Georgia Secretary of State spokesman Matt Carrothers said the state has applied several times for preclearance but was denied each time.

“In fact, the state of Georgia right now is the only state in the country currently prohibited from complying with (the Help America Vote Act of 2002) verification process due to repeated denials from Department of Justice,” he said.

Georgia’s lawsuit against the U.S. attorney general argues that the preclearance requirement is an unconstitutional imposition on the state’s sovereignty.

But the Justice Department says the Help America Vote Act doesn’t require states to check citizenship, as Georgia law does.

The department’s Civil Rights Division wrote to Georgia’s attorney general last year, saying the proposed changes could disproportionately affect minorities.

“Between May 2008 and March 2009, more than 60 percent more African-Americans voters who registered during this period are currently flagged — which means some of the information they provided such as name or driver’s license couldn’t be verified by the state — than whites,” the Civil Rights Division letter states.

HOW VERIFICATION WORKS

Under Georgia’s HAVA Verification Process, from June 2007 to March 2009:

* 7,007 individuals were flagged as potential noncitizens

* 14.9 percent, more than one in seven, were U.S.-born citizens

* 45.7 percent provided proof they were naturalized citizens

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

“Hispanic and Asian individuals are more than twice as likely to appear on the list (as potential noncitizens) as are white applicants,” it adds.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the result is to treat citizens differently.

“A citizen who is wrongly flagged as a noncitizen should not have to make a personal trip down to the registrar to show they are a U.S. citizen; that is discriminatory,” said the fund’s Nina Perales, lead lawyer in the intervention.

But Kay Staten, Whitfield County’s chief registrar and elections supervisor, doesn’t see a problem.

“(Those who are flagged) bring their papers with them and we take care of them,” she said.

“We would not disenfranchise anybody for no cause,” added Staten, who has worked in the election’s office since 1979.

To add to Georgia’s legal struggles, the Legislature passed a bill in 2009 that would require proof of citizenship when initially registering to vote. The new legislation, SB 86, has not been submitted for preclearance and has not been implemented.

Georgia is considering filing a separate lawsuit to get preclearance for SB 86, Carrothers said.

about Perla Trevizo...

Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...

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Wilder said...

It seems that Perla is back on track, quoting that model of unbiased reasoning, Jerry Gonzalez.

Why do Georgians want to check the legal status of people when they register to vote?

Georgia's residents have personally observed an uprecedented number of costly violations of our laws by mostly Hispanic illegal aliens. This is an undeniable fact.

The nonchalant manner in which the mostly Hispanic illegal aliens go about violating our laws has touched a nerve with most Georgians, and rightly so.

They want something done about it.

August 7, 2010 at 9:24 a.m.
Wilder said...

It is time for Georgians to wake up to what our state's legislators are really doing for us.

You only need to devote a minimal amount of time to becoming informed on the giant loopholes in our state's laws, because the professional advocates have done all of the work for you:

http://www.latino2010.org/ga-latino-vote-english/

HERE IS JUST ONE ON TOPIC EXAMPLE - NOTE THE MESSAGE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE, AFTER THE ASTERISK:

*PLEASE NOTE: You are not required to provide identification when you vote absentee by mail.

YOU COULDN'T HAVE CRAFTED A MORE LAME LAW ON ACCEPTABLE ID'S. YOU CAN DRIVE A TRAIN THROUGH IT(AND THE PROFESSIONAL ADVOCATES ARE STILL COMPLAINING, IT IS WHAT THEY DO FOR A LIVING):

  1. What IDs are acceptable?

Acceptable Identification: Georgia law (O.C.G.A § 21-2-417) requires Georgia residents to show photo identification when voting in person.

Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a FREE Voter ID Card issued by your county registrar's office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)

A Georgia Driver's License, even if expired

Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state

Valid U.S. passport ID

Valid U.S. military photo ID

Valid tribal photo ID

3.What is a Free Voter Identification Card?

If you do not have one of the six acceptable forms of photo ID, the State of Georgia offers a FREE Voter Identification Card. An identification card can be issued at any county registrar's office or Department of Driver Services Office free of charge.

To Receive a voter identification card, the voter must provide:

A photo identity document or approved non-photo identity document that includes full legal name and date of birth

Documentation showing the voter's date of birth

Evidence that the applicant is a registered voter

Documentation showing the applicant's name and residential address

*PLEASE NOTE: You are not required to provide identification when you vote absentee by mail.

August 7, 2010 at 10:19 a.m.
Wilder said...

Let's put this issue in context:

http://sos.georgia.gov/elections/voter_registration/vrgraphs.htm

There are 5,734,129 registered voters in Georgia.

3,521,165 or 61.41% White 1,699,767 or 29.64% Black 87,877 or 1.53% Hispanic

GALEO's stated goal is "to register 100,000 new Latino and pro-immigrant voters in time for the General Election in November." (THEY APPARENTLY DON'T WANT TO REGISTER ANY ANTI-IMMIGRANT LATINOS)

http://www.galeo.org/story.php?story_id=0000007597

If they are successful, the number of registered Hispanic voters in Georgia will be 187,877 or 3% and change - hardly enough to influence the outcome of the election, provided that the gringos show up at the polls in even moderate numbers.

Given the statistics, why do the Hispanics receive so much press coverage?

Why do our legislators only enact make believe laws, designed to have no real effect?

I think that it is because most voters are too lazy to study the issues, and most politicians are fully aware of this - that is how they get away with enacting make believe legislation to deceive voters( referred to as the "unwashed" by Sen.Johnny Isakson):

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/isakson-apologizes-for-unwashed-551585.html

If you are unhappy with our politicians, you should hold their feet to the fire - study the issues - ask them why they can't pass meaningful laws - if they can't give reasonable answers, vote the bums out of office.

August 7, 2010 at 11:37 a.m.
afhcarm said...

It seems obvious that both the Federal Government and the Latino community want to register any Latino whether he is a U.S. citizen or illegal alien.

August 8, 2010 at 11:08 p.m.
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