Top Latino group denounces voting irregularities on Super Tuesday
The country’s oldest Latino civil rights organization on Thursday denounced voter suppression incidents in areas with large minority populations during Tuesday’s primary elections in 14 states.
The president of the group said areas with large Latino communities experienced the biggest barriers to vote on Super Tuesday’s slate of primaries.
“Latinos have become the largest minority voting bloc in 2020, and our community is at the heart of the voting base in states like California and Texas. Yet, it is precisely in the largest minority communities around the country — specifically districts where the Latino vote makes the difference — that we are witnessing the biggest barriers for people to vote,” said Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Nearly half the country’s Hispanic population lives in California and Texas, where thousands of voters encountered long lines, closed or relocated polling stations, and malfunctioning voting machines.
In California, new polling machines received mixed reviews, as some voters applauded the machines while others blamed the new system for long lines that forced stations open past closing time, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
Voters in Texas also encountered long lines in a state that’s led the South in polling station closures over the past year, particularly in minority neighborhoods, according to an analysis by The Guardian.
“The calculated effort to suppress the minority vote during Super Tuesday is a danger to our democracy,” said Garcia in a statement.
“In my home state of Texas, we heard from hundreds of minority Americans unable to vote due to too many people at too few polls and malfunctioning machines causing long lines. In California, we also saw how a lack of poll workers delayed lines for hours,” he added.
More than 2 million people voted in 2020’s Democratic primary in Texas, eclipsing the 1.4 million who voted in 2016.
Garcia said the difficulties in voting made it harder for lower-income voters to juggle their regular lives and the time and transportation investments needed to go to the polls.
He blamed a 2013 Supreme Court decision gutting the civil rights-era Voting Rights Act for the changes in Texas’s voting procedure. The decision left the law no longer subject to revision by the Department of Justice.
“The Voting Rights Act was supposed to protect our communities from this systematic disenfranchisement. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder put minority voter disenfranchisement on display this Super Tuesday,” said Garcia.