Don't Let the Illegals Vote!.pdf

Dont let the illegals vote port chester poll workers

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“Don’t let the illegals vote!” Port Chester poll workers discussing why they wanted to ask some Latino voters for ID before allowing them to vote in 2010. This article analyzes how the belief and fear by mostly older, white voters, politicians and poll workers that “illegal” Latino immigrants are seeking to vote in local elections has led to stig- matization of and discrimination against some Latino citizen voters in the Village of Port Ches- ter, New York. This fear—stoked by and closely echoing national voter ID law rhetoric (Minnite “Don’t Let the Illegals Vote!”: The Myths of Illegal Latino Voters and Voter Fraud in Contested Local Immigrant Integration robert courtney smith This paper analyzes how the belief and fear by mostly older, white voters, politicians, and poll workers that “illegal” Latino immigrants were seeking to vote in local elections led to stigmatization of and discrimina- tion against some Latino citizen voters in Port Chester, New York. Stoked by and closely echoing national voter ID law rhetoric, this fear fueled an “illegal Latino voter threat” narrative. This article documents how Port Chester’s leaders and citizens repeated this narrative in public life, sometimes enacting it in politics, including in voting. The resultant stigma denies Latino voters the presumed legitimacy other citizens enjoy, discrediting them in one word: illegal. Such processes harm democracy in Port Chester and America, and were on display in the 2016 presidential election. Keywords: myth of voter fraud, myth of illegal Latino voters, voting rights act, democracy, immigrants, citizens 2010)—has fueled an “illegal” Latino voter threat myth whereby mostly white residents fear that illegal Latino voters threaten their group position in Port Chester and what they see as their American way of life (Blumer 1958). Port Chester’s leaders and citizens repeated these narratives in public life, sometimes en - acting them in the political process, including in voting. The resultant stigma denies Latino voters the presumed legitimacy (Goffman 1963) other citizens enjoy, creates an unwelcoming climate, and discredits them in one word, il- legal . Such processes harm democracy in Port This content downloaded from 129.2.19.106 on Mon, 04 Feb 2019 03:03:13 UTC All use subject to
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r s f : t h e ru s s e l l s ag e f ou n d at io n jou r n a l of t h e s o c i a l s c i e n c e s “d on ’ t l e t t h e i l l e g a l s vo t e !” 149 Chester and America, but could be counter- acted. They raise questions about how we will address the current version of our American dilemma in our integration of immigrants and their children (Myrdal 1964; DiTomaso 2013). The 2016 presidential campaign remarkably juxtaposed a Democratic candidate openly dis- cussing implicit bias in American life, and a Republic candidate who claimed massive voter fraud by illegally voting immigrants both when it looked as if he would lose the election and after he won.
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