Maybe Mike Coffman Doesn’t Want to Get Elected Statewide

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is putting forth legislation to repeal a section of the 1973 Voting Rights Act that allows districts with high percentages of non-English speakers to print ballots in different languages. From Talking Points Memo:

Coffman said Wednesday that his legislation would repeal Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states or districts to provide bilingual voting materials if more than 10,000 or more than 5% of voters “are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient,” or if the illiteracy of members of the language minority is higher than the national average.

“Among other factors,” Section 203 says, “the denial of the right to vote of such minority group citizens is ordinarily directly related to the unequal educational opportunities afforded them resulting in high illiteracy and low voting participation.”

As Polster VanDammer points out, Coffman has signed on to most major “anti immigrant” bills offered in Congress in the last year. While this would make sense for a conservative, Tea Party-loving Congressman, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for someone with statewide aspirations.

Coffman has made no secret of the fact that he wants to run against Sen. Mark Udall in 2014, but he’s going to have a hard time winning a statewide race by going out of his way to antagonize Hispanic voters, which he is doing with bills like repealing part of the Voting Rights Act. There’s a reason why Texas Governor, and now Presidential candidate Rick Perry has been supportive of issues like in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants — he knew he needed support from Hispanic voters in Texas.

In the 2010 Senate race in Colorado, 81% of Hispanic voters selected Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet over Republican Ken Buck; if Buck had received just 30 percent of the Hispanic vote, he would be in the Senate today. Take a look at what Mike Melanson, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s campaign manager, had to say about the Hispanic vote last November. From Colorado Independent:

He said the Hickenlooper campaign saw an uptick in early voting among Hispanics this year – the first time he had seen that in a non-presidential year. He said Hispanic voters are a very strong element in Colorado and that it was a mistake by Republicans to focus on immigration in a negative way.

Either Mike Coffman wasn’t paying attention in 2010, or he just doesn’t really want to win a statewide race. But if he continues down this path of casting himself as a hardliner on immigration, there’s no way he’s going to defeat Udall in 2014. Hispanics accounted for 12% of all Colorado voters in 2010, and that number is only going to increase in the next four years. The numbers don’t lie — you just cannot win an election if you immediately lose the support of 10-15 percent of the electorate.

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  1. Gray in Mountains says:

    know that the voters will forget.

    His campaign will be about his veteran status and he’ll likely enlist some “heroes” to be everywhere he goes. That will make him fomidable, but if folks can get him to keep talking his foolishness will be revealed

  2. Ralphie says:

    …he has to get nominated.

    That means appealing to the Tea Bigots who have taken over his party.

    Hence, his proposed legislation.

  3. Before he jumps the gun and looks forward to 2014 he better make sure he can win a more diverse CD 6 (fingers crossed the court is actually reasonable when they rule in couple of months).

     

  4. RedGreenRedGreen says:

    guess which one belongs to Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus. Hint: it’s the one GOP regulars think might, deep down, be too reasonable. He’s proving them wrong.  

  5. Hispanics accounted for 12% of all Colorado voters in 2010, and that number is only going to increase in the next four years.

    Hispanic numbers may increase, but Hispanic voters may not. Democratic support by political minorities (including gays, women, African Americans, so-called independents) has a way of ebbing or flowing depending on whether or not they’re inspired to get out to the polls.

    I think you’re right, because Coffman is creating, on his own, inspiration for Hispanic voters to turn out.

    We just gotta remember Van Jones’ observation: The pledge of allegieance doesn’t end with the word “liberty.” It ends with “liberty and justice for all.” If Democrats keep fighting for both these, and fighting to get people to the polls, we’re ok.

  6. Since most people are voting via mail, have the one and only ballot — printed in English — mailed to a voter’s home. If the voter’s inability to understand English is that impaired, then he gets a friend, relative, someone from his house of worship, AARP, LaRaza, LULAC, or whatever to help translate. This is what communities and neighborhoods do. We don’t demand the government spend more of our tax dollars on ballots in a variety of languages.

    I used to have to help my elderly mother with her ballot, during the last few years of her life, even though she was a native English speaker. We didn’t demand the government provide a large print ballot, or audio, ballot for her!

    If the English language challenged voter is one of the few, who still casts a ballot at a polling place, then they can bring someone along to assist them. That is already permitted by current law.

    It’s a “win-win” situation! No one is denied access to voting, the voter gets help understanding the ballot, and there are no tax dollars being spent.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      Let’s take that one step further and REALLY save some cash–the next time your house catches fire, get a friend, a relative, someone from your house of worship to grab their fire extinguisher and shoot on over to your house to put out the fire. Just think of the money we could save.

      We don’t need to demand the government spent more of our taxes dollars on your careless Christmas tree tragedy in the making. Not when you have all those awesome friends, relatives and fellow worshipers to save the day.  

      • The two situations are not even close.

        • Middle of the Road says:

          While mine is merely inane, your analogy is thinly disguised racism because you’re openly advocating for disenfranchising registered non-speaking English voters.  

          • ardy39 says:

            non-voting registered English speakers?

            😉

          • Openly advocating for disenfranchising registered non-speaking English voters?  

            I seriously question the very concept of “registered non-speaking English voters.” When one registers to vote, in the first place, aren’t the forms only in English? Funny how the language barrier isn’t a problem then.  But, when it comes time to vote, taxpayers — only in certain counties — are supposed to pay for dual, or multi-language, ballots?

            Election Day doesn’t sneak up on anyone.  There is plenty of time for people to prepare, however, to cast their vote.  You want to be an American… make an effort; don’t wait for the government to “take you by the hand” and lead you to the ballot box.  

            When you consider the men and women, who have fought and died for our right to vote, you’d hope that voters would do whatever it takes to exercise that right.  If I knew I would have to my vote on a ballot, written in German, you bet I would make the effort to figure it out by Election Day.        

            What’s next… insistence that campaign material be multi-lingual, candidates have to have all their remarks translated into assorted languages, there has to a candidate of your ethic background in the race?

            This isn’t racism, it’s common sense!  Folks who resort to claiming “racism” usually don’t have any other compelling reason to support their argument.  I’ve yet to see one from you.  Not having a ballot, in your native language, disenfranchises no one.  

            • Middle of the Road says:

              is how utterly clueless you are. Did you bother to read the diary before you weighed in with your halfwitted comment?

              1973 Voting Rights Act that allows districts with high percentages of non-English speakers to print ballots in different languages.

              Do you even understand the Voting Rights Act and the amendments to it?

              No, no, don’t bother answering. Your comments in this thread provide ample proof that you do not.

              So, either you’re a dumbass or a racist.  Which is it?  

              • RedGreenRedGreen says:

                1973 Voting Rights Act that allows districts with high percentages of non-English speakers to print ballots in different languages.

                The law requires making bilingual ballots available in those jurisdictions, it doesn’t just allow it.  

                • Middle of the Road says:

                  Thank you for making it. Seriously.

                  Maybe if RR wasn’t quite so lazy, he’d bother to go to the US Election assistance Commission website and find out some of this for himself.

                  Like, the following:

                  Translating the National Mail Voter Registration Form

                  EAC has translated the National Mail Voter Registration form into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. The links below contain additional information about this work.

                  Or perhaps this:

                  Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections

                  Our voter’s guide is available in eleven languages: Cherokee, Chinese, Dakota, English, Japanese, Korean, Navajo, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Yupik. It is designed to help voters successfully navigate the federal elections process, from registering to vote to casting a ballot on Election Day.

                  • Obviously, everyone is aware that this is taking place.  The question is “should it be?”

                    Congressman Coffman’s position — which actually is not to outright ban dual language ballots — is to allow each individual county to make that determination.

                    Why is it that liberals think everything must driven from Washington, DC?  Do you actualy think bureaucrats there are more in tune to what is going on in a specific county than the local elected officials?  This is why county clerks — not the Secretary of State — are elected to run elections in each county.  

                    • Middle of the Road says:

                      At the end of the day, not a single point you have made on this topic has merit and you know it.

                      It’s the law. I can see how much it must offend your sensibilities that minorities still have a few rights left in this country. It must be aggravating as hell to realize that they are actually protected under federal law and that perhaps, just perhaps, the federal government has the duty as well as the right to protect citizens from people such as you and Mike Coffman.

                      …Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states or districts to provide bilingual voting materials if more than 10,000 or more than 5% of voters “are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient,” or if the illiteracy of members of the language minority is higher than the national average.

                      “Among other factors,” Section 203 says, “the denial of the right to vote of such minority group citizens is ordinarily directly related to the unequal educational opportunities afforded them resulting in high illiteracy and low voting participation.”

                      And btw, from your multiple comments on this subject, the only thing that is OBVIOUS is that until it was pointed out to you, you didn’t even have a clue that voter registration forms are printed in multiple languages. Do I really need to go back and copy and paste your original comment where you said just that?

                      Ah, with folks like you it’s necessary so I guess I’ll just go ahead and do it.

                      I seriously question the very concept of “registered non-speaking English voters.” When one registers to vote, in the first place, aren’t the forms only in English? Funny how the language barrier isn’t a problem then.  But, when it comes time to vote, taxpayers — only in certain counties — are supposed to pay for dual, or multi-language, ballots?

                      Look, it’s okay to admit that you didn’t know prior to your comment what the hell you were talking about and to even admit that you were sorta talking out your ass. You’re human. You made a mistake. So quit digging in and doubling down on the stupidity.  

              • So, either you’re a dumbass or a racist.  Which is it?  

                by: Middle of the Road

                As a retired middle school teacher, I have to say your writings remind me so much of some of my former students.  The repeated name calling and juvenile insults, you seem to enjoy engaging in, diminishes any valid viewpoints you occasionally make.

                I think I’ll stick with the “grown up” division here.  I may not be always right, but I prefer to engage with adults who can argue without resorting to 7th grade rantings.

                 

                • Middle of the Road says:

                  If you were a middle school teacher, I’m guessing you aren’t a complete dumbass. That leaves us with racist.

                  I guessed correctly the first time. Gee, based on your comments on the subject, who could have seen that one coming?

            • Middle of the Road says:

              printed “only in English.” Are you seriously admitting you didn’t know that?

              How utterly embarrassing to be you.  

    • EmeraldKnight76 says:

      we print all the ballots in Spanish then all non-Spanish speakers can rely on a friend, relative, someone from his house of worship, AARP, LaRaza, LULAC, or whatever to help translate. Think of the tax dollars saved!

      It’s a “win-win” situation! No one is denied access to voting, the voter gets help understanding the ballot, and there are no tax dollars being spent.

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