Latino group appeals voter ID ruling - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Latino group appeals voter ID ruling

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Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 5:16 pm | Updated: 11:40 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A Latino civil rights group is asking federal appellate judges to overturn a lower court ruling upholding Arizona's voter ID requirements.

Sanctions law facing challenges

Nina Perales, attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said she hopes to convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the provisions in the 4-year-old law, have a much greater impact on minorities than others. That, she said, violates federal laws.

In a ruling last month, U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver upheld the requirement to prove citizenship to register to vote and to provide certain forms of identification to cast a ballot at the polls. She accepted the arguments by the state that the provisions are necessary to protect the integrity of the voting process.

But the group's president, John Trasvina, said he sees something more sinister in the requirements.

"It is no surprise that citizen voter suppression exists in the state that is also one of the three most hostile to immigrants," he said.

He noted that lawmakers proposed - and voters approved - one measure to deny bail to some people accused of crimes who entered this country illegally.

Another measure says illegal immigrants are not entitled to the lower in-state tuition at state universities and community colleges even if they meet other residency requirements and have paid taxes here.

And Trasvina also cited the state's law to punish companies that knowingly hire undocumented workers.

He acknowledged those measures, all of which are being challenged by the group, are aimed at those who are in the United States illegally. But Trasvina said voter ID provisions affect legal U.S. citizens and have a disproportionate effect on Latinos.

Silver said there was some data showing the law has a slightly harsher impact on Hispanics and American Indians than it does on others.

But the judge said the overall effect of that was so minimal as to be virtually insignificant.

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