Elderly and Latino voter disenfranchisement in Arizona
October 3, 2008
Allegations against the GOP
The potential voters in question are by and large elderly and Latino, most of whom would likely have voted Democrat, leading many to accuse the GOP of raising fears of illegal immigrant voter fraud in order to disenfranchise those that would potentially vote Democrat. "The evidence is indisputable that aliens, both legal and illegal, are registering and voting in federal, state, and local elections," wrote Hans A. von Spakovsky in June in a widely circulated "legal memorandum" entitled "The Threat of Non-Citizen Voting." Von Spakovsky is a former Bush recess appointee to the Department of Justice, where as counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights, he specialized in voting and election issues. After the Senate blocked his reappointment citing his involvement in "efforts to politicize the Department and use the Voting Rights Section to disenfranchise voters, rather than enforce our nation’s civil rights laws," he served as a member of the Federal Election Commission for two years.
Repercussions of Proposition 200
According to the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, at least 38,000 voter registration applications have been rejected in Arizona since Proposition 200 went into effect in 2005, largely because of failure to document citizenship.
Access to documents like birth certificates and passports can be especially costly and difficult for low-income and elderly voters, like 97-year-old Shirley Preiss, who moved to Arizona in 2007 to be with her son, Joe Nemnich. Preiss cast a ballot for Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 and has voted in every election since. Her Social Security card and several state-issued ID cards are of no use. She says Prop 200 violates her constitutional rights. "I have a legal right," Preiss said. "It says so right in the book."