Latino Voters at Risk: Assessing the Impact of Restrictive Voting Changes In Election 2016

Source: NALEO Educational Fund, 2016

The Presidential election of 2016 will take place against a very different legal and political landscape
than existed in 2012. Voters lost the protection of a critical piece of the Voting Rights Act, the
preclearance process, to a 2013 Supreme Court ruling. Whereas in 2012, new voting policies could
not be implemented in the entirety or portions of 16 states until they had cleared anti-discrimination
review, in 2016, approximately eight million Latino voters are vulnerable to restrictive lawmaking
and changes in election administration because they live in jurisdictions that have been freed from
oversight, in spite of their documented histories of adopting practices that discriminate against
minority voters.

Nineteen states created new barriers to Latino participation since 2012:
Nineteen states have enacted or implemented new laws since November 2012 that will make it harder for
Latinos and other voters to cast ballots in 2016. In sum, we estimate these laws could seriously impede more than 875,000 Latinos who are eligible to vote from participating in the 2016 Presidential election.

States have implemented serious obstacles to voter registration:
Some of the restrictive provisions that have been implemented since 2012 make it more difficult to register to vote by adding requirements for documentation or information from potential registrants. Some states have also moved deadlines for registration to dates farther in advance of Election Day, or made it more difficult for community volunteers not affiliated with election officials to help people register.

States have imposed discriminatory restrictions on voting:
State legislatures have also made it more difficult to vote both in-person and by mail. Several states will prohibit people without acceptable photo ID from voting for the first time in a Presidential election, and some states have truncated their early voting periods. Some states have also shortened the window of opportunity for requesting an absentee ballot, or restricted helpers’ ability to deliver absentee ballots for voters who cannot easily send their ballots themselves.

Restrictive laws are likely to have a disproportionate negative effect on Latino voters:
Table 1 sets forth the number and location of Latinos eligible to vote who will face challenges with electoral participation in Election 2016. In addition to the number of Latinos set forth on page 2, hundreds of thousands of additional citizens are likely to be deterred from voting by provisions whose numerical impact we cannot estimate with precision.

Related:
Latinos Shaping the Political Landscape as Voters In 2016
Source: NALEO Educational Fund, February 23, 2016

How states’ elections changes imperil the Latino vote
Source: Rebekah Barber, Institute for Southern Studies, Institute Index, July 8, 2016

….Number of Latino voters living in the jurisdictions that lost preclearance: 8 million

Of these 8 million voters, number who are likely to find it more difficult to cast ballots because of state laws implemented since the last presidential election: 875,000

Since that election, number of states that have implemented new laws that make it harder for Latinos to vote: 19

Of the nine states that saw their Latino populations increase by at least 100 percent between 2000 and 2010, number that implemented restrictive new voting changes since 2012: 6

Of those six states, percent in the South: 100*….