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By Felicia Persaud

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Sept. 14, 2012: This past week in Florida, the Department of State there was forced to apologize to 2,600 immigrants turned naturalized U.S. citizens who were wrongly shed from the state’s voter list.

The voters were improperly removed, or wrongly told they would be removed, after they were identified erroneously as non-citizens. Now the state, under the direction of Republican Governor Rick Scott, has been forced to re-add the 2,600.

The about face did not come easily but came only after a lawsuit filed against the state in federal court in Miami by seven groups alleging discrimination against Hispanic and immigrant black voters.

The case comes as claims of discriminatory voting laws are being made across the country, in many states led by Republican governors. It summarizes the harsh reality of the impact new voter ID laws, passed in 17 states, including Florida. All are contrary to the National Voting Rights Act much like the immigration laws passed in several states are contrary to federal laws.

Nine states now require voters to show government-issued ID to vote, while eight others have enacted similar requirements while offering limited alternatives for early voting.

As a recent report titled, ‘Turning Back the Clock on Voting Rights: The Impact of New Photo Identification Requirements on Young People of Color’ points out, an estimated 700,000 young minority voters could be barred from voting in November because of photo ID laws passed across the country in recent years, especially African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The report further points out that between 170,000 and 475,000 young black voters; 68,000 and 250,000 young Hispanic voters; 13,000 and 46,000 young Asian-American voters; 1,700 and 6,400 young Native American voters and 700 and 2,700 young Pacific Islander voters could be denied the right to vote or turned away at the polls for not having the proper credentials. In Florida, more than 100,000 young people of color could be demobilized, according to the report.

The Department of Justice has struck down voter ID laws in Texas, Florida, South Carolina and Wisconsin this year under the Voting Rights Act, which mandates that states with a history of racially discriminatory voting procedures get their laws cleared by the DOJ.

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, a son of immigrants, has likened the laws to Jim Crow-era poll taxes and other nefarious policies designed to keep African Americans from voting.

Florida, which is up for grabs in the November Presidential election, with about 11.5 million voters, is a key state and the brazen move that luckily was reversed speaks volumes of how immigrant and minority voters could be disenfranchised and dismissed to make way for a Republican win.

After all, isn’t this the aim of this strategy? The reality is that Republicans know they cannot win an election with their right, wing White voting base only – not in a country where the demographic has shifted dramatically and the minority is fast becoming the majority, aided by immigrants. So the strategy is clear – eliminate the minority and immigrant votes to pave the way for a White win.

Immigrant and minority voters cannot let this barefaced bigotry be allowed to go forward. Let’s make sure we register early to vote and fight to stay on the list by getting our photo identification in place and in order to make our vote count!

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.

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