Among the victims of the Florida law: Jill Cicciarelli, a New Smyrna Beach high school teacher who last year tried to register several of her students. She had been out on maternity leave, ran afoul of the new law, and was threatened with thousands of dollars in fines. "I just wanted the kids to be participating in our democracy," she says.

More significant, these laws have had a direct impact on minorities. The number of Latinos registered to vote in Florida, for instance, has fallen by 10 percent since 2008. (Nationally, there are 2 million fewer minority voters now than in 2008.) Florida, says Howard Simon, executive director of the state's ACLU, is attempting to "gut the Voting Rights Act."

Is all of this enough to propel Mitt Romney to victory over Barack Obama? Well, the president received 96 percent of black votes in 2008 and more than two-thirds of the Latino vote. And Florida is the nation's largest swing state. Many of the measures, like those in Arizona, Texas, and Minnesota, are under review by courts or face public votes in the future. "The fate of these laws," says the NAACP's Jealous, "will determine that of our country for years to come."

Justin Renteria


Also in this series:

• Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey on how America's war on Mexicans has gone too far.

Phoenix New Times columnist Stephen Lemons on how civil disobedience must escalate as the Supreme Court rules on SB 1070.

Chuck Strouse is editor of Miami New Times.

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My Voice Nation Help

When someone shows up to register to vote, how do you know who they are unless you see their ID?  When someone shows up at the polls to vote, without ID, how do you know they are the rightful holder of that voter's registration?  I agree, if you can get out to vote, you can go out and get an ID.   To use not having an ID is a bogus excuse.  And what's with this voting on Sunday and early voting?    The Vote should be on Election Day.   This is not disenfranchising anyone. It's making certain that LEGITIMATE registered voters only, vote... Once, and with the ability to prove they are who they say.   Dead people can't vote and should be removed from the rolls   Convicted felons can 't vote and should be removed from the rolls..   If you are a legal voter, you have nothing to hide.


Sorry no sale. you can vote any day but sunday.  and what is wrong with making sure only people legally eligible to vote, actually vote? -who is paying for weekend staff to allow people to early vote anyway?  I can see it during normal working hours for county employees, but weekend voting is costing more in taxes. why doesn't everyone vote on election day?


How is it that people can get to the polls to vote, but cannot get to a place to secure a photo ID? In Tennessee, local political groups offer free rides and the State offers free ID?  I fail to see the problem.  I had to show photo ID to get a library card for crying out loud.