Voter ID laws may hinder Hispanic vote

WASHINGTON — Civil rights groups are warning that as many as 10 million Hispanics may be deterred from casting ballots because of changes to voting laws.

In a report to be released Monday, the civil rights group Advancement Project cites the potential impact of newly restrictive photo identification laws, proof-of-citizenship requirements, and late efforts in a few states to remove noncitizens from the voter rolls.

‘‘It has the impact of scaring people and reminding them of [immigration] raids and other kinds of law enforcement that have been targeted toward these communities,’’ said Penda D. Hair, a co-director of the Advancement Project, part of a coalition of liberal groups that oppose the new voting laws.


Proponents of the efforts to tighten voting laws, including several secretaries of state, say they want to end voter fraud and are not targeting particular demographic groups.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

‘‘The fact is our office only compared our voter rolls against DMV records where individuals showed proof of noncitizenship,’’ said Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the Colorado secretary of state’s office.

In-person voting fraud is rare, studies have shown, but there have been recent cases of absentee ballot fraud, and small numbers of noncitizens are registered to vote.

In Colorado, the secretary of state’s office estimated last year that as many as 11,000 noncitizens were registered to vote. But after checking a federal immigration database, the state said this month that 141 noncitizens were registered and as few as 35 had voted.

Several of the states with more restrictive laws and procedures, such as Colorado, have large Hispanic populations. As the deadline to register voters approaches in many states, the Advancement Project’s report warns that the new rules are working against efforts to register Hispanics, the nation’s fastest-growing demographic.

Washington Post