A wave of restrictive voting laws is sweeping the nation. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law counts “at least 180 restrictive bills introduced since the beginning of 2011 in 41 states.” Bills requiring voters “to show photo identification in order to vote” were signed into law in Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Adding insult to injury, Alabama, Kansas, and Tennessee went a step further and required voters to present proof of U.S. citizenship in order to vote. In addition, Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico embarked upon ultimately fruitless “purges” of their voter rolls for the ostensible purpose of sweeping away anyone who might be a non-U.S. citizen.
All of these actions have been undertaken in the name of preventing voter fraud, particularly illegal voting by non-citizens. Proponents of harsh voter laws often assert, without a shred of hard evidence, that hordes of immigrants are swaying election results by wheedling their way into the voting booth. However, repeated investigations over the years have found no indication that systematic vote fraud by non-citizens is anything other than the product of overactive imaginations.
Fighting Phantoms: No Evidence of Widespread or Systematic Vote Fraud by Non-CitizensRead more...
The evidence of non-citizens voting is sparse and appears subject to much exaggeration. Despite this, many states are asking the federal government for access to immigration data in order to determine whether non-citizens are on the voter registration rolls. For instance, in July 2012, the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—advised the Florida Secretary of State that states, under limited circumstances, may use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program for verification of the citizenship status of registered voters. This issue, however, goes beyond Florida. Other states have expressed an interest in using SAVE in a similar fashion. This new development has heightened misconceptions about the SAVE program and its purpose.
The Immigration Policy Center’s previously issued fact sheet about the SAVE program focuses on whether SAVE can actually verify whether an individual is in the country lawfully or not. This fact sheet focuses on whether the SAVE program can be used to accurately verify voter eligibility. It explains why SAVE is not a database of all non-citizens, why using SAVE to verify the status of individuals who have registered to vote is a misuse of the program, and how using SAVE for this purpose could lead to denying U.S. citizens the right to vote.
A wave of restrictive voting laws is sweeping the nation. As of May 21, 2012, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law counted “at least 180 restrictive bills introduced since the beginning of 2011 in 41 states.” Bills requiring voters “to show photo identification in order to vote” were signed into law in Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Adding insult to injury, Alabama, Kansas, and Tennessee went a step further and required voters to present proof of U.S. citizenship in order to vote. In addition, Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico have undertaken purges of their voter rolls to sweep away anyone who might be a non-U.S. citizen. Read more...
At a time when federal, state, and local elections are often decided by small voting margins—with candidates frequently locked in ferocious competition for the ballots of those “voting blocs” that might turn the electoral tide in their favor—one large and growing bloc of voters has been consistently overlooked and politically underestimated: New Americans. This group of voters and potential voters includes not only immigrants who have become U.S. citizens (Naturalized Americans), but also the U.S.-born children of immigrants who were raised during the current era of large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia which began in 1965 (the Post-1965 Children of Immigrants). Read more...
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released data on the Latino population of the United States that underscores the extent to which the immigrant experience is embedded in the social (and political) fabric of the United States. The political significance of these statistics is apparent in the most recent IPC Fact Check. Latinos comprise the fastest-growing group of voters in the United States. The number of naturalized U.S. citizens is increasing rapidly and the electoral clout of New American voters who share a direct, personal connection to the immigrant experience—that is, naturalized citizens and the U.S.-born children of immigrants—is on the rise.
IPC has compiled this one-stop analysis of all the available data on the Asian, Latino and New American vote and shows how and why they voted the way they did in the 2008 election cycle. The report features a variety of early, exit and election-day polling which tells the story of not only a record rate turnout, but also provides insight into the greatest areas of concern for these voters. It also explores early signals from the new administration and congress with respect to immigration reform.
The 2008 elections clearly demonstrated the growing power of the Latino, Asian, and immigrant vote. Not only did these groups turn out in record numbers, they also overwhelmingly rejected anti-immigrant politicians who attempted to use immigration as a wedge issue through hateful campaign rhetoric that is quickly becoming an unhealthy trademark of the Republican Party.
The following report illustrates the growing electoral clout of Latinos, Asians, and New Americans; provides data on how and why they voted; and demonstrates that immigration was an issue that motivated them to the polls. Election results from races in which immigration was a hot issue show that immigrant-bashing did not work as a campaign strategy. The report also provides evidence that a majority of all voters favor comprehensive immigration reform, and details early signs from the incoming administration and Congress that point to a new direction in immigration policy.
Politicians of all stripes would be wise to listen to the voices of ethnic and New American voters and not take them for granted. The analysis provided in the following pages points to the strength and growth of what may be the most important voting bloc in 21st century politics—one that now has the power profoundly to change American elections in the years to come.
Latinos weren't the only group that flexed its muscles this past Election Day. New Americans--naturalized citizens and the U.S.-born children of immigrants who were born during the current era of immigration that began in 1965--make up another important demographic group that demonstrated its ability to swing an election.