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Latino groups continue pressure on Arizona over uncounted ballots

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 14:19 EDT
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Latino voter protest in Arizona
 
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A new video posted by the activist group Presente.org showed members illustrates efforts by Latino voters in Arizona to make sure their votes are counted.

The video, shot during a Nov. 9 demonstration in Maricopa County, shows members of Presente and other community groups delivering a petition with 20,000 signatures to local election officials.

“It’s very clear to us that the community’s outraged,” the group’s executive director, Arturo Carmona, told The Raw Story Wednesday. “The community’s outraged that a state as large as Arizona would have such a dismal system in their elections process. This is unprecedented.”

At the time of the demonstration, Presente said, 600,000 votes remained uncounted across the state, most of them coming from voters in predominantly Latino districts, a number that could still influence three elections yet to be finalized, including county Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s bid for re-election. Though Arpaio’s opponent has conceded, another activist group, Promise Action in Arizona, has vowed to contest the result.

As of Tuesday, Univision reported, there were still 324,000 ballots left to tally, including 121,000 provisional ballots. And among the voters forced to vote provisionally despite registering, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reported Monday, were more than 30,000 people signed up to vote by a another group, Adios Arpaio, formed by local high-school students.

The processing delay has indeed attracted criticism both locally and nationally; MSNBC host Rachel Maddow called Arpaio “a cartoon” Monday and called out county officials for “mistakenly” telling Spanish-speaking voters Election Day was Nov. 8 (it was actually Nov. 6) and limiting the amount of polling places.

“We think that the [Arizona] Secretary of State [Republican Kent Bennett] and a lot of elections officials around the state did not invest appropriately in ensuring that there was an election that was accessible to all voters in the state of Arizona,” Carmona said.

That’s why groups on the ground are calling for an investigation from the Department of Justice.

Carmona said another demonstration is planned for Thursday, with the group planning to deliver another petition to officials with several thousand more signatures.

Watch video of the Presente.org’s protest in Maricopa County, which it posted on YouTube Monday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
 
 
 
 
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