After years of Arizona elected officials hiding behind the rhetoric of border security to defend what has been a wholesale systemic oppression of Latinos their true motives may receive the light of a beacon of truth.
In the dusty and dark back room of the Arizona Secretary of State’s office lay the hopes, dreams and aspirations of over 80,000 voters in the form of ballots which are decidedly still uncounted to this day.
Over half of these early and provisional votes are from the heavily Latino populated county of Maricopa.
Maricopa County is still awaiting the official certification of the winner of the race that could reelect anti- Latino Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Less than 11,000 votes have kept Joe Arpiao in the lead in a race that the national media has prematurely called for him.
Local activists immediately noticed a huge and unmistakable gap in the vote count that the national media missed and that the Secretary of State initially ignored. In 2008 there were 2 million votes cast in Arizona and this year so far the count has been about five hundred thousand short of that. A slip of voter turnout in Arizona would be an anomaly since all of the other states with Latino populations actually met or increased their participation in this year’s historic presidential election – all that is except Arizona.
Reports from voters that volunteered for this year’s election in Arizona indicate that there was real and systemic voter suppression in Arizona. The suppression tactics included robo calls from GOP Senate candidate Jeff Flake that mislead Democratic voters about their polling place.
Most alarmingly there were also incidents of Latino voters receiving false information via the U.S. mail directly from the Maricopa county election office itself. In an environment of systemic voter suppression that includes even those that are entrusted with the solemn duty of preserving the most important of all American rights there should be no surprise that there are hundreds of thousands of provisional ballots.
The Jan Brewer gang has insisted that there oppressive policies on immigration are not efforts to discriminate against Latinos. Brewer and Arpaio have screamed that they are only concerned about the rule of law. At issue today in Arizona is the rule of law. The question is whether Brewer will make sure the law is enforced on behalf of Latino voters or if she will only continue to harshly enforce laws against them.
Whether or not these votes are properly counted one outcome is certain: the backroom of the Arizona’s Secretary of State’s office will soon go from being dark and shadowy to actually shedding light.