Voting purges are, let’s face it, racist. And they don’t need to be. Removing non-citizens from the voting rosters is all well and good, but when you start looking around at minorities and progressives when it comes time to purge, you’re doing something wrong. According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times:
Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted in a state hunt to remove thousands of noncitizens from Florida’s voting rolls, aMiami Herald computer analysis of elections records has found.
Whites and Republicans are disproportionately the least-likely to face the threat of removal, the analysis of a list of more than 2,600 potential noncitizens shows. The list was first compiled by the state and furnished to county election supervisors and then the Herald.
The article went on to explain how the states (in this case, Florida) justify targeting minorities when it comes to finding the non-citizen voters,
Florida elections officials compared information from the state’s mammoth voter rolls with a Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles database that began collecting citizenship information relatively recently.
Many people register to vote at driver’s license offices under the so-called “motor-voter” law. There’s a chance that some noncitizens who get a license mistakenly fill out a voter-registration card. Some may willingly ignore the law that restricts Florida voting to U.S. citizens who are state residents.
That’s a fallacy, though. What we really seem to need is a better screening process than an after-the-fact racial targeting system. Another article, this on the thinkprogress.org site, shows data indicating that as many as twenty percent of those targeted immediately offered proof of citizenship. That means a targeted harassment is underway by the state or county governments for no reason other than ethnicity–and that is racism.
Catalist, a company which “provides progressive organizations with the data and services needed to better identify, understand, and communicate with the people they need to persuade and mobilize,” while admittedly biased, offered the following data on voting purges since 2008,
In many states, certain parts of the state electorate, both geographically and demographically, are much more likely to be dropped off of the voter rolls than others. More specifically, some general trends that we see are focused on:
a. Urbanity – cities are getting disproportionately purged
b. Race – minorities are getting disproportionately purged
c. Marital Status – unmarried people are getting disproportionately purged
d. Age – younger (< 40 years old) and older (> 65 years old) voters are purged more frequently than middle-aged voters.
e. County effects – there are big differences across county lines, pointing to sharp discontinuities based on arbitrary political boundaries that do not correspond with inherent behavioral differences
I’m not saying voter purges are wrong; Only citizens should be allowed to vote in United States elections. However, the process by which we find out who is voting that shouldn’t be certainly needs some work before it stops violating valid citizens’ rights.
|Please join me on Facebook, or visit my home site.You can also follow me on Twitter.|