Two years of courtroom battles ended on Monday as Georgia received a green light from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to go ahead with its controversial voter verification system, a major step backward for the state.
As this Dispatch will detail, after considerable media hype about Arizona-style bills sweeping across the nation, the reality is that from from Nevada to Arkansas to Massachusetts to Kansas and Rhode Island,
anti-immigrant bills and ballot initiatives largely didn't move or
failed to make this fall's ballot. A key reason: most state leaders
and police chiefs recognize that requiring local governments to assume
immigration enforcement responsibilities from the federal government
will distract them from fighting violent crime and undermine trust with
local residents that are essential to successful community policing.
In a disappointing turn of events, Indiana’s Supreme Court ruled
4-1 in favor of the state’s voter ID law, overturning last year’s decision by the
Indiana Court of Appeals that deemed voter ID requirements
unconstitutional partly because it treated those casting absentee
ballots differently from those at voting booths. But in the end, the
Indiana Supreme Court majority opinion stated,
“It is within the power of the legislature to require voters to
identify themselves at the polls using a photo ID.”
Florida Republican leaders have begun crafting anti-illegal-immigrant
legislation modeled after an Arizona law that has incited widespread
protests and fueled national and international debate over U.S.
Under the proposed bill, police would have
broad power under state law to ask suspects for proof of legal
residency, said Rep. William Snyder, a Republican from Stuart who plans
to introduce the legislation in November.
As we highlighted two
weeks ago, the Arizona legislature and Governor's decisions
to pass a punitive, anti-immigrant bill - SB1070
- have unleashed a torrent of condemnations inside and outside of
Arizona. Voices speaking up against the bill have come not only from
civil rights organizations, but have also included public safety
officials, constitutional legal scholars, and, significantly, Republican
leaders and candidates from other states with
significant immigrant populations.
A recent report from the advocacy group America’s Voice
highlighted the growing power of Latino voters in the upcoming 2010
elections. Latino voters played a critical role in 2008 to propel
President Obama to victory in several key swing states that previously
trended Republican, including Virginia. Latino voter
registration and turnout rates have exploded over the past few years:
roughly 10 million voted in the 2008 Presidential election alone, a 2.5
million increase from 2004 and 4 million person increase since 2000.
Latino voter registration grew by over 54% between 2000 and 2008, and
turnout grew 64% over the same time period.