THE BLOG
11/04/2011 08:10 am ET | Updated Jan 04, 2012

El Chanclaso: States Combat Mass Voting

Civics lesson in Florida

There are certain states that just can't stand voters actually voting.  One of those states is Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott signed a law that makes it difficult for third parties to register new voters.  Gov. Scott and the state legislature are convinced that massive voter fraud is taking place when young people and people of color are voting in higher numbers. Claro, no evidence of voter fraud was ever provided.

Still, the law went into effect. And who was the first person caught scheming to undermine the integrity of the Florida electoral system? A Florida high school civics teacher! Jill Cicciarelli was unaware of the new law, and is now facing thousands of dollars in fines. Cicciarelli violated two provisions of the new voting law: she failed to register with the state and submit those voter registrations within 48 hours. Seriously? This law is quickly showing how useless it is, and how it's going to chill registration efforts. I'm giving Florida a big chanclaso. Let la gente vote!

Alabama, Florida's country cousin

Another state keen on imposing as many obstacles to voting as it can get away with is Alabama.  Defending efforts there to decrease voter turnout is former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis.  Davis wrote an op-ed supporting Republican legislation that requires voters to provide government-issued IDs.  Again, the argument for enacting these restrictions is that massive voter fraud is taking place. Supporters never have been able to prove massive voter fraud, and now a report just released by People For the American Way Foundation shows that voter fraud is completely a myth.  No existe!  Former president Bush's war on voter fraud resulted in only 86 convictions between 2002 and 2006 out of nearly 200 million votes cast, a rate of 0.0000004 percent.

Que triste that the states with the lowest voter turnout rates in the country are the ones rolling out these voter suppression tactics. For them the fewer people that vote, the better. When Artur Davis was asked to provide names or file a complaint with local authorities of the voter fraud he said took place while he was in office, he refused. ¡Hijole! I'm sending Davis a flying chancla for failing to report "voter fraud" to local authorities.  States should be making it easier for people to vote by allowing same day voter registration, not making it more difficult.

Aplausos


Project Runway Spoiler Alert!

I want to give an aplauso to Viktor Luna, an immigrant from Mexico, for coming in third in Season 9 of Project Runway.  This is the second season in a row of Project Runway where a Latino finished in the Top 3.  Last year, Mondo Guerra was totally robbed when it was abundantly clear that he was the best designer, and I may never forgive Michael Kors and Nina Garcia for this injustice. But congrats to Viktor for a job well done.

El Chanclaso

For many Latinos, a chancla is more than summer footwear. The flip flops on our mothers' feet were also impromptu and easily accessed weapons. Back talk, ignoring orders or fighting with your siblings could, without warning, result in a chancla on the rear end or, if distance was a factor, flying at you.

Now we're all grown up. But some people still deserve chanclasos. And we're going to let them have it here in our weekly column, El Chanclaso. Every Friday, Sergio, our resident chancludo, will turn a critical eye on political shenanigans, and current issues and events with his chancla firmly in hand. Depending on the severity of the misbehavior, being on the wrong end of the chancla could get you one or two chanclasos. Sergio will also give aplausos to those who make us proud.You've been warned. Now, behave!

Sergio Lopez hails from the great city of San Antonio and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.  He thanks his mother for judiciously using her chancla to set him straight.

Know of someone who deserves a chanclaso or an aplauso? Send in your suggestions to news@votolatino.org.