'Clear Bias' Exists Against Latinos in Local Elections, Study Claims


The local election process is biased against Latinos, a study conducted by three political science graduates at Harvard University claims.
When asked, election officials are less likely to provide basic information regarding what is required of Latino voters, a HuffPost Latino report said.
The three students, Julie Faller, Noah Nathan and Ariel White, sent thousands of emails with fake names to local officials requesting voter information. Some names were made to “sound white”, while others were created to be Latino-sounding.
The students presented the following findings:

Analyzing data from over 5,300 replies, we find clear evidence of bias against Latinos in the responsiveness of local election officials. While our design does not allow us to identify specific mechanisms responsible for this bias, we show that emailers with Latino names were roughly five percentage points less likely to receive a reply to a question about voter ID requirements than non-Latino whites. This result is not driven by whether officials were elected or appointed, or by small towns where officials might know all of their constituents. We also find that the replies Latinos emailers do receive are less likely to convey accurate information about ID requirements.

Presenting a voter photo ID has been a divisive issue around the country, and has lead to several states passing laws to make it more difficult to obtain a voter ID.
Laws requiring a photo ID are among the most contentious, with opponents arguing that the requirements would disproportionately dilute the Latino vote,” the report said.
Hispanics, along with the poor, the young, and those without college educations, are among the groups most likely to lack state-issued identification.
(Photo by wmsch_kiwi via Flickr)