National Latino Organizations Issue Joint Statement Regarding Voting Rights and Voter Intimidation in the Presidential Election

October 21, 2016 (New York, NY) – Hispanic Federation (HF), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) have issued the following statement on voting rights and voter intimidation in the 2016 Presidential Election.

“Few victories have been as hard-won in the history of Civil Rights in the United States as the right to vote.  Generations of Americans of every color, gender, and class have fought for the right to make their voices heard at the ballot box. They have done so at great risk to themselves, their families and their communities; some have been imprisoned, others have been killed.

Because we are fully aware of the high price paid by Civil Rights pioneers, HF, LULAC and LCLAA are deeply troubled by the dangerous rhetoric emerging this campaign season regarding voter eligibility. Claims of widespread, systemic voter fraud are unequivocally untrue. As the New York Times noted in September 2016, “the most comprehensive investigation to date” on the subject found that “out of one billion votes cast in all American elections between 2000 and 2014, there were 31 possible cases of impersonation fraud.” In other words, voter fraud in our nation is virtually nonexistent.

What we have read and heard in recent weeks recalls some of the darkest chapters of voter intimidation and disenfranchisement in our nation’s history. In particular, we are outraged by calls for untrained and/or unauthorized individual citizens to monitor and enforce voting rights provisions at their local precincts, a task that falls to local election authorities.  We are concerned that, against a backdrop of anti-immigrant and racist campaign speech, individuals will attempt to disenfranchise voters who they believe fail to meet their notions of what an American voter should look and sound like.

We call on the Department of Justice and state and local Boards of Election to monitor and pre-empt any attempts to disenfranchise voters.  We further call on party leaders and candidates to refrain from engaging in irresponsible speech that targets and seeks to intimidate eligible, registered voters.”