Immigration Reform: The GOP’s Newest Voter Intimidation Tool

This is what the GOP is trying to stop

For decades Republicans have been using voter intimidation tactics to prevent minorities from showing up at the polls to support Democratic candidates, and as Hispanics have fled the GOP, it appears that they are the newest voter intimidation target. As 2012 looms, one of the intended consequences of the AZ immigration law is to keep Latinos away from the polls.

Republicans have a long history of using intimidation to keep voters away from the polls and caging techniques to challenge a voter’s registration status at the polls. Caging is done by sending direct mail to addresses, if that mail is returned undelivered, then the voter is either purged from the voting rolls or has their registration challenged when they attempt to vote. It is a form of intimidation and an attempt to discourage, usually minorities, from voting. This practice is not unusual.

As Talking Points Memo pointed out, “In 1981, the RNC and the New Jersey Republican Party sent a mass mailing to voters in predominantly African American and Latino neighborhoods, from which a caging list of 45,000 voters were compiled based on returned mail. The RNC attempted to have the listed voters purged before the election. When the request was denied, the RNC announced plans to challenge those voters at the polls instead and used intimidation tactics, including the posting of off-duty law enforcement officials at polls in targeted areas and the placement of posters in heavily African American neighborhoods, warning that violating elections laws is a crime.”

According to the DNC, “Between 2004 and 2006, the Republican National Committee challenged more than 77,000 Americans voters in targeted communities.” These operations occur all over the country. Whether it is a voter ID law in Georgia, a flawed convicted felon purge in Florida, or caging operations in Montana, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, and Ohio, voter intimidation and caging is an integral part of the Republican election strategy.

When the Republican Party decided to appeal to their white base on immigration reform, Latinos fled the GOP en mass. In 2004, George W. Bush got 40% of the Latino vote, but by 2006, 70% of Latinos voted Democrat. The situation got even worse for the GOP in 2008, as Obama beat McCain 67%-31% among Latino voters. Republicans seem to have given up efforts to woo Latinos back to the GOP and may have now moved on to marginalizing their votes and keeping them away from the polls.

Greg Palast was the first to suggest that one of the motivations behind the Arizona immigration reform is to keep Latino voters away from the polls. He has some very strong evidence to support his claims, (As Secretary of State in 2004 Jan) “Brewer, then secretary of state, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer’s command, no fewer than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanic, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.”

Later in his investigation he adds even more evidence, “But Secretary of State Brewer followed the Rove plan to a T. The weapon she used to slice the Arizona voter rolls was a 2004 law, known as “Prop 200,” which required proof of citizenship to register. It is important to see the Republicans’ latest legislative horror show, sanctioning cops to stop residents and prove citizenship, as just one more step in the party’s desperate plan to impede Mexican-Americans from marching to the ballot box.”

Here is the video of Palast’s investigation courtesy of thuthout:

The next step in a plan of Latino voter suppression would be for other swing states with large or growing Latino populations and Republicans in control of the state political apparatus to adopt laws similar to Arizona’s. The point is not to suppress Latino votes for the fun of it. The goal is to suppress votes that might influence the outcome of a presidential election in a few swing states. The Arizona law isn’t for 2010. It is the first step in a campaign of Latino intimidation and suppression for 2012.

For Republicans there are two sides to the immigration coin. They play into the fears of their white party base motivating them to support the GOP, while at the same time the very same law works to intimidate Latino voters into not showing up at the polls. The intended result would be increased white GOP turn out and decreased Democratic Latino turnout. In a close presidential election, this kind of plan in one state can dictate which party controls the White House. Setting up Arizona to be the next Florida (2000) or Ohio (2004) is what the immigration law is really about.

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7 Replies to “Immigration Reform: The GOP’s Newest Voter Intimidation Tool”

  1. Excellent post. I can attest to the voter purge in certain states during the last election, and the many, many lawyers on hand to deal with the on-site challenges to voters, mostly African American in this case.

    Arizona is also the place where (as Greg mentions) the Iglesias debacle took place. “The answer was provided by a federal prosecutor who was sent on a crazy hunt all over the Western mesas looking for these illegal voters. “We took over 100 complaints, we investigated for almost 2 years, I didn’t find one prosecutable voter fraud case.”

    This prosecutor, David Iglesias, is a prosecutor no more. When he refused to fabricate charges of illegal voting among immigrants, his firing was personally ordered by the President of the United States, George W. Bush, under orders from his boss, Karl Rove.”

    If people understood the politics behind these “laws” they would be even more outraged. Law abiding citizens being denied the right to vote based on their color. I’ve seen it.

  2. Disgusting tactics of the Republicans. OF course the Fox viewers think it is Democrats doing this…because Fox tells them so!

  3. This may well play into Tancredo’s charge that certain citizens should not be allowed to vote because they cant pass a civics quiz, the same that kept blacks from voting for over 70 years.

    However, I must ask if this was the time to do it. We have midterms of course which are important, but are they as important as 2012? The law will no doubt be termed illegal and this will give latinos time to put this behind them and still vote against the republicans. The other 10 states are preparing to do this as well, but are they all republican states? (I haven’t looked). If they are not republican majority led, this may well signal a different or additional reason for this law.

    If Jason’s (excellent) post is true and can be proven, this will provide enough to do several things. Two of which are
    1. Ruin the republican brand until after the 2012 elections and possibly much further given their actions of recent. The dems need to hammer this in like a spike in the coffin
    2. Provide enough sympathy for the amnesty of millions of illegals.

    I think Palin has cooked her goose by hanging onto this, if this post is true. Well she is cooked anyways. But the republicans had better drop the tea party and run like hell away from this law, the corporate support, anything that smacks of being against the will of the people, support healthcare and Financial Reform because I am thinking they are a cooked brand.

  4. I am not surprised in the least, and I understand that in 2008, the GOP in either Ohio or Michigan tried to disenfranchise voters who had lost their homes to foreclosures by challenging their voting rights.

    At the rate they are going, with their ridiculous litmus tests as to being “conservative enough,” they are doing a more effective job of eventually marginalizing themselves than the Democratic Party could ever do. More and more, they are alienating potential and actual voters with their win-at-any-cost mentality. I also firmly believe that Palin will eventually hang herself by being consistently on the wrong side of significant issues and that her endorsement of this law will prove to be one of the nails in her political coffin.

  5. So… just to balance this out could some of these “purges” be because of ACORN was found to be regestering fake people? And since a lot of the targets for ACORN was on the Lower to middle class areas would not challenging the validity of the registrations in that area be prudent?

    Voting is a sacred trust that we as americans have. If you have voter fraud going on your voice is deluted. I would hope that both parties be active in weeding out people who are fake or non-citizens trying to vote.

    As for the AZ law being a scare tactic against Hispanics the Law is very simple if your stopped doing something illegal and the cop begins to suspect you aren’t a citizen… (british accent, maybe your ID looks wrong, 15 people crowded into a van) they can ask you to supply your ID proving your Immigration status or citizenship. If I get stopped for speeding or if I am loittering at the mini-mart looking suspicious I would be expected to hand over my ID if a cop asked… wouldn’t you?

  6. @Jason,

    Acorn was not found to be registering fake people. The only people found guilty of voter and election fraud was a GOP hired company in 2008.

    Acorn found that a few workers had filled in fake names like Mickey Mouse in order to get paid more. Mickey Mouse never tried to vote. Mickey Mouse is a cartoon figure. It had nothing to do with getting an actual voter registration.

    The media has not explained this well and Fox/GOP perpetuate this myth because they raise a lot of money off of this. They are the party which was actually found guilty of this charge. You can google it. Republican voter fraud and election fraud. Start off in California. It will take you to the other states.

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