LATINO CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION SHOWS DISENFRANCHISEMENT - Mitch Perry02/19/04
A Latino Civil Rights organization has released what they say is the first ever report on the effect of Felony Disenfranchisement laws have on Latinos nationwide...
The Report from MALDEF - The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, concludes that significant numbers of Latino citizens are prohibited from voting by so-called "felony disenfranchisement" laws - laws that ban or restrict the voting rights of persons with felony convictions - with an estimated half a million Latinos not allowed to participate in the democratic process in the 10 targeted states. In addition, the study found that the states had very inconsistent and sometimes a shocking lack of information pertaining to the race and ethnicity of persons in the various correctional systems.
Cathy Culleton is a staff attorney in the Washington Policy office for MALDEF.. She says MALDEF has just recently become part of a Right To Vote Coalition and said they worked with a statistician to look at the impact on Latinos - especially here in the Sunshine State (roll tape#1 o.q."on latinos")
According to MALDEF, there are a projected 119,100 members of the Latino community who cannot vote because of the Florida's lifetime. The report also says that the percentage of disenfranchised Latinos is greater than the percentage of Latinos in the citizen voting age population, indicating that Florida's voting ban may have a disproportionate impact on Florida's Latino community.
Culleton says that these numbers indicate the impact on potential Latino voters, which -as is frequently discussed , are a growing number of the electorate, and Not necessarily as as politically aligned with the Democratic Party as African-Americans historically have been. (roll tape#2 o.q."opposed to")
In Florida's heavily Republican legislature, bills to restore civil rights automaticly to ex felons have gone nowhere in the past couple of years........