Welcome to the post-SB 1070 world. The latest stop, South Carolina, where a judge’s ruling Thursday will mean that the most contentious “papers please” provision of the state’s anti-immigration SB 1070 copycat law will move forward for implementation.
The provision and the law, modeled on Arizona’s SB 1070, mandates that state law enforcement officers inquire about a person’s immigration status if they suspect a person is undocumented. In U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel’s ruling, he nodded toward the Supreme Court’s ruling on sB 1070 earlier this year which allowed for future legal challenges to the law after it goes into effect. Judge Gergel, also in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling, blocked provisions making it a state crime for people not to carry their papers and provisions which criminalized undocumented immigrants’ daily life.
Much of the law had been blocked in December while the federal court awaited the ruling from the Supreme Court. Already in effect from South Carolina’s law are the state’s now mandatory statewide employment check requirements.
Texas Governor Rick Perry this week threw his weight behind a bill to require all welfare and unemployment applicants to submit to a drug test. The bill, SB 11, was filed on Monday by Republican state Senator Jane Nelson. It deem those who fail a drug test ineligible for assistance for up to a year.
The Texas bill takes the drug testing regime a to new extremes. Not only will a failed test lead to loss of benefits, it also requires the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to report mothers and fathers who fail tests to Child Protective Services.
As I reported earlier this year, dozens of state legislatures considered similar bills in the last two legislative sessions and in several states they became law.
Jorge Rivas, Thursday, November 15 2012, 3:51 PM EST
The Facing Race Conference—the largest national, multi-racial gathering of racial justice leaders, educators, journalists, artists, and activists—starts tonight! Close to 1,400 people are expected to gather in Baltimore and you can keep up with the conference and Colorlines.com writers online.
If you’re on Twitter you can use the #FacingRace hashtag to keep up with conference goers.
Also videos from the conference will first be posted on the Applied Research Center’s Facebook Page. You can “like” them using the widget below to stay up to date. (If you’re not Facebook, you can follow @racialjustice on Twitter.)
Colorlines staff will be participating in the following panels:
Jamilah King will moderate “Can You Hear Me Now? How Activists and Artists are Rebuilding the Media”
Friday, November 16, 11:15am -12:45 pm
People of color generally pay more for fewer communication services and are sometimes left on the sidelines of some of today’s biggest tech innovations. This session will focus on how people of color are using public policy and art to push forward a new media framework. What are the promises — and the pitfalls — of today’s do-it-yourself ethos? What organizing strategies yield the most effective results? And how are communities responding?
Seth Freed Wessler will moderate “Shattered Families: Racial Justice and Systemic Change in Child Welfare”
Friday, November 16, 2012 11:15am - 12:45 pm
The child welfare system is tasked with protecting children from harm. Yet the system targets families of color in unfair ways. Hundreds of thousands of children in foster care are there because the child welfare system feeds off of the effects of poverty and of structural racism embedded in other systems like criminal justice and immigration and inequity embedded in tribal relationships to U.S. institutions. This panel will explore child welfare practices in communities of color, solutions for more equitable policy and strategies for protecting families.
Channing Kennedy will moderate “Like Racism, But Funnier: Social Change Through Internet Jokes”
Saturday, November 17, 2012 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
How do we reclaim comedy from the status quo? In this no-holds-barred workshop, three of your favorite social justice joke scientists (W. Kamau Bell, Negin Farsad, Samhita Mukhopadhyay) lay out case studies and strategies for making people laugh (and think), for putting dehumanizing comedy on blast, and for turning the inevitable backlash into positive change.
Julianne Hing will moderate “Tell Your Story, Move Your Campaign”
Saturday, November 17, 2012 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Stories, well-crafted and honestly told, have the ability to move people to action. But they can be tricky for progressives, who often get hung up on facts and complicated dynamics, and as a result, it can be harder to share solutions and reach possible allies. Learn strategies from organizers including the Drop the I-Word campaign who have developed a strong narrative as a core component to their campaigns, and are using new media strategies to communicate with more people because of it.
Jorge Rivas will moderate “No Budget? No Problem! 2013’s New Tools For Creating Content and Telling Your Story”
Saturday, November 17, 2012 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm
Video and audio experts will discuss their best practices, what tools they’re using and what platforms you should be considering. SoundCloud fellow Will Coley and YouTube sensation Franchesca Ramsey will be speaking.
Jorge Rivas, Thursday, November 15 2012, 2:32 PM EST
Viola Davis was honored by the National Domestic Workers Alliance in Washington, DC on Wednesday night. Davis received the “Voice of Love Award: Uplifting the Voices of Domestic Workers in Popular Culture” award.
Actress Cicely Tyson was honored with the “Lifetime of Leadership Award.”
Check out the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Storify timeline below of the event last night.
News reports say that BP has entered into a settlement with the Department of Justice for criminal penalties for the 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. According to The Washington Post, BP has agreed to pay $4 billion over five years for their role in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drill, which led to 11 workers dying and a lot of Gulf fisherfolk put out of work. Early estimates for BP fines were placed at $20 billion, for violation of the Clean Water Act and a number of other environmental protection statues. The plea will keep BP from going to trial with the federal government, which sought to prove criminal willful negligence on BP’s part.
Congress passed a law earlier this year that would direct BP’s criminal fines to the Gulf Coast states, to use for restoration projects, as opposed to going to Treasury — a victory for Gulf Coast advocates who pushed for that. There is still outstanding civil litigation for those who lost business or whose health was affected by the oil disaster. That was settled earlier this year for $8 billion, a great portion of which will go toward opening up health centers across the Gulf, which was also pushed for by advocates.
The Washington Post says BP still likely will be able to do business with the US and drill in the Gulf.
It was unclear how BP’s plea would affect its ability to bid on contracts to supply fuel to the U.S. military. BP has been a major supplier of fuel to the Pentagon in the past. But analysts expect that it will not impair the company’s ability to lease areas of the Gulf of Mexico or explore for oil and gas there. The company said that it “has not been advised of the intention of any federal agency to suspend or debar the company in connection with this plea agreement. BP will continue to work cooperatively with the debarment authority.”
Others put the fine into perspective.
“It is the largest criminal fine ever because BP’s epic crime against this region’s environment, cultures and human health is the largest crime ever to face potential prosecution,” says Derrick Evans, Managing advisor for Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health. “BP knows this as well as the fact that they are getting off cheap.”
It’s estimated that there are over 2.7 million kids in the United States who have at least one parent in prison, most of which are hundreds of miles away from their homes. That figure is just one glimpse into the collective impact that mass incarceration has on communities, the cost of which can actually be boiled down to dollars and cents. The national campaign to lower the cost of prison phone rates is gaining momentum, as today activists and family members with the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice deliver a petition with 40,000 signatures to the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to force the legislative body’s hand in finally taking action on the issue.
According to inmates and their families, calls can often cost as much $20 for just a 15 minute call. Today’s rally will feature FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, faith leaders from Rainbow PUSH and the United Church of Christ, and families of inmates. At issue is something called the Wright Petition, which seeks to cap the cost of prison phone calls.
“I have spent over $25,000 over the last 10 years just trying to stay in touch with my son in prison,” said Lillie Branch-Kennedy in a recent press release. “There is no reason prison agencies and phone companies should be profiting off of families like mine, forcing us to choose between putting food on the table or keeping in touch with our loved ones. We rely on these calls to stay focused on building a new, healthy life together after our loved one’s release.”
On Wednesday, the FCC announced that they are at least willing to look into the issue. The Commission is circulating a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on interstate calls and rates. The NPR is a public notice that, in this case, seeks to add or change the rules that govern interstate calls to and from prisons. The vast majority of prison phones are operated by private companies that, in many cases, offer what have come to termed as “kickbacks” to individual states.
The drive to pass comprehensive immigration reform went into high gear yesterday when President Obama said he expects a bill will be introduced by January. The comments at the President’s first press conference since his re-election come amid a flurry of bipartisan support for an immigration overhaul.
“My expectation is that we get a bill introduced and we begin the process in Congress very soon after my inauguration,” he said, adding that he is “very confident that we can get immigration reform done.”
Last week and over the weekend, a number of leading Republicans in Congress said they were ready to support an immigration reform bill. Last Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner told ABC’s Diane Sawyer, “This issue has been around far too long.” And on Sunday, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” that the GOP’s approach to immigration has “has built a wall between the Republican Party and Hispanic community.”
In addition to a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants, Republicans and President Obama agree that any immigration reform package must include additional immigration enforcement on the border and require those applying for papers to learn English and pay penalties. It would also impose penalties on companies that hire undocumented workers.
Obama added that a immigration reform bill would provide protections for young undocumented immigrations who entered the country as children.
Many immigration reform advocates say that while they expect the President and Congress to pass an immigration reform bill, they’ll also continue to push the president to halt deportations. Obama’s immigration agency has deported nearly 400,000 people in each of the last four years, more than any previous administration.
Jorge Rivas, Thursday, November 15 2012, 10:17 AM EST
Mitt Romney is back with more forty-seven-percent-esque comments and this time he’s more upset.
The GOP presidential candidate that lost both the electoral college and the popular vote says President Barack Obama was only re-elected because he promised big policy gifts to blacks, Latinos and young people.
In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign on Wednesday, Romney said the president wooed specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”
“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Mr. Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”
The president’s health care plan, he said, was also a useful tool in mobilizing black and Hispanic voters. Though Mr. Romney won the white vote with 59 percent, according to exit polls, minorities coalesced around the president in overwhelming numbers: 93 percent of blacks and 71 percent of Hispanics.
“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”
Romney went on to apologize to his donors on the call.
“I’m very sorry that we didn’t win,” Romney said. “I know that you expected to win, we expected to win, we were disappointed with the result, we hadn’t anticipated it, and it was very close, but close doesn’t count in this business.”
Take a look at Solange Knowles tweets below that inspired my rendering of events in the image at the top. (That is not an actual picture of Solange getting her afro pat down, it’s a combination of three images photoshopped together to illustrate the afro pat down.)
Jorge Rivas, Wednesday, November 14 2012, 11:14 AM EST
Americ Ngwije over at TVequals.com has illustrated the racial diversity of the Fall 2012 TV season.
NBC leads the pack as the network with the most diversity in its scripted programming. ABC and Fox are in the middle and CBS and CW are in the bottom.
NBC was the only network with an actor of color in every single one of its series. However, the analysis doesn’t look at the number of appearances or number of lines for each actor.
For example, Fox got a D grade but they’re also the network with “The Mindy Project” that stars “Mindy Kaling.” A show with a women in the leading role goes a long way compared to supporting actors of color who may just have a couple of lines in each episode.
Jorge Rivas, Wednesday, November 14 2012, 10:30 AM EST
When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, it became illegal for employers to discriminate based on race. But decades laters studies show white workers still earn tens of thousands more than workers of color in the same job.
A 2011 Georgetown study found white engineers earn an average of $80,000 a year but their African-American counterparts earn $20,000 less. Latino engineers earn $24,000 less than white ones.
The racial inequality and wage gap also exists in the adult film industry.
In a New York Times essay published this week Dr. Mireille Miller-Young wrote that the greatest challenge faced by women who work in the pornography business, in addition to social stigma, is gender and racial inequality.
Miller-Young, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research explores race, gender and sexuality in visual culture and sex industries in the U.S.
In her New York Times piece titled “Empowering to the Women on Screen,” Dr. Miller Young writes about the inequality in the pornography business and provides additional context based on her research:
For instance, I have found that women enter the pornography industry because they are enthusiastic about its potential for lucrative, flexible and independent work. Women who previously worked in the retail sector or in nursing found that pornography offered them greater control of their labor, and surprisingly, it treated them with more humanity. Some women found that it enabled them to rise out of poverty, take care of their families or go to college. Others emphasize the creative aspects of pornography, and say it allows them to increase their economic mobility while also making a bold statement about female pleasure.
According to the performers I interviewed, the greatest challenge faced by women who work in the pornography business, in addition to social stigma, is gender and racial inequality. Overwhelmingly, women do not control the production and distribution apparatus of the business. The men who run both the large companies and the smaller, amateur businesses tend to marginalize women’s perspectives and priorities and to foster a competitive environment that pits female workers against one another.
African-American women - and women and men of color in general - are paid half to three-quarters of what white actresses are paid. Like in other kinds of industries, they face prejudice and inequality in structural and interpersonal forms. But they also challenge them. Porn’s workers are fighting to achieve greater control over their labor and the products they produce.
Women of color are paid half to three quarters of what white actresses tend to make, according to a 2007 NPR interview with Miller-Young. She went on to say this “reflects the ways in which black bodies have historically been devalued in our labor market since, you know, slavery to the present.”
She says this is also visible in the production of the types of films that black women appear in: they have a lower production value, less of the kind of market, and lower kind of values in how they treat the workers.
[UPDATE 11/14/12 12:00pm EST: A commenter in the comments section below that identified as an adult model has added even more context and says the unfair treatment goes far beyond adult models and actresses on screen:
“[People] never want to discuss the unfair treatment of dancers, models, escorts, directors, and all others who work in the sex industry who get less pay and expected to perform more extreme acts because of the color of their skin.”
A new analysis by the Black Youth Project parsed support for President Obama in last week’s election and found that while young voters defied pundits’ expectations that they’d stay home, it was young voters of color who brought it home for Obama.
Black and Latino support for the president held steady from 2008 levels, but white young voter support for Obama dropped a full 10 percentage points. Voters of color under 30 are also shaping up to be a key part of the overall U.S. electorate. In this election they were roughly 20 percent of voters—and their numbers are growing.
“Once again the youth vote—driven largely by young Blacks and Latinos—played a critical role in the presidential election, and it has become clear that Black and Latino youth will continue to exert increasing influence on the American electoral system,” said Jon Rogowski, assistant professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis in a statement.
Check out the rest of the study (here)[http://research.blackyouthproject.com/black-youth-and-the-future-of-american-politics/].
Jorge Rivas, Tuesday, November 13 2012, 11:20 AM EST
Last Tuesday, Maine, Maryland and Washington state all passed new gay marriage laws and voters in Minnesota defeated a ban against them. If the movement catches on in other states, black and Latinos will be a big reason why, the Washington Post reports.
If you look at last Tuesday’s exit polls alongside other recent studies you’ll find that as more African Americans and Latinos become registered voters the more likely it is for more same-sex marriage victories.
In Maryland last week, 46 percent of African Americans supported gay marriage. Insiders say Maryland is a microcosm of what’s to come because the state is heavily African-American (29 percent), has a significant Latino population (8 percent) and national polls show both groups have become increasingly supportive of gay marriage since President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage.
According to national exit polls taken last Tuesday, 52 percent of both black and Latino voters who turned out Tuesday said they support gay marriage in their states.
The exit polls’ findings match up with other studies released earlier this year.
A Pew Hispanic Center study also released last month found more Latinos favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally (52%) than oppose same-sex marriage (34%). Among Latino Catholics that favor allowing gays and lesbians that number is even higher (54%).
But the fact is that the states that are the most Democratic — and thus the likeliest candidates to pass gay marriage laws — tend to be more diverse (California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, etc.). And if African Americans and Latinos are as onboard with gay marriage as the exit polls suggest, the four states that voted in favor of gay marriage on Tuesday might be the first of many.
A recent report from Colorlines.com’s publisher, Applied Research Center, highlighted case studies of racial justice groups currently engaging lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) constituencies and equity issues, and identified key barriers and opportunities to greater engagement.
I tell my daughter — she’s at NYU — I say: “You’re black, you’re a woman, and you’re dark-skinned at that. So you have to be a triple/quadruple threat.” I said: “You gotta learn how to act. You gotta learn how to dance, sing, move onstage.” That’s the only place, in my humble opinion, you really learn how to act. I said: “Look at Viola Davis. That’s who you want to be. Forget about the little pretty girls; if you’re relying on that, when you hit 40, you’re out the door. You better have some chops.”
On Saturday, a Neo Nazi hate group in Charlotte, North Carolina held a rally made up of about 50 supporters. But their biggest enemies turned out to be over a hundred clowns. According to local reports, the Neo Nazi protesters were outnumbered at least five to one.
The National Socialist Movement (NSM), a neo-nazi hate group, was
supposed to hold an anti-immigration rally but they were drowned out by
all the clowns making noise.
Counter-protesters brought squeaky toys, whistles, noise-makers, red noses and flour—every time the NSM mentioned “white power” the counter demonstrators sprinkled white flour in to the air.
Poet, writer, and activist William Brandon Lacy Campos has died. He was discovered on Friday night in his apartment in New York. The cause of death has not been announced. Campos was 35.
Campos authored the poetry collection “It Ain’t Truth If It Doesn’t Hurt,” was a contributor to the anthology “From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction,” and authored a blog called “Queer, Poz and Colored: The Essentials” at TheBody.com. He was also the former co-executive director at Queers for Economic Justice, a non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation.
Campos was born in Minnesota and became an activist in his teens, becoming the co-chair of the National Queer Student Coalition at age 20. He wrote and spoke passionately about not only the broader political landscape, but also about his own emotional journey and challenges as a queer person of color.
According to Rod 2.0 a Facebook status update made by Campos’ father confirmed his son had passed away. The news rocked LGBT and progressive organizing and artist circles this weekend, prompting an outpouring of support and grief on Facebook pages.
Campos was multi-racial and as Rod 2.0 points out, discussed the intersections of race, colorism, sexuality and gender just days before he passed away in a keynote address he delivered at Tuft University’s annual Black Solidarity Day on Monday, Nov. 6. The speech was called “A New Kind of Blackness.”
“I’ve spent a long time thinking about blackness. About, roughly, all of my 35 years walking around this planet. I guess that makes me some sort of an expert, but mostly it makes me confused, angry, celebratory, conflicted, colonized, dehumanized, aggrandized, powerful, vulnerable, righteous, and a whole host of other adjectives.
“I am standing in front of you a black, white, Ojibwe, Afro-Boricua, HIV positive, queer man. And I am just as black as any of you. You are my community, you are my salvation. I am in community with my queer and trans black family and being queer or trans doesn’t make you less black than anyone else. It’s time for us to realize that HIV stopped being a white gay disease a long time ago, it’s now a black and Latin[o] disease and it’s time to hold up our positive brothers and sisters as our own. No more high yellow and midnight blue conversations when talking about skin unless its to talk about how that high yellow or midnight blue person rocked your socks last night.”
Victoria’s Secret has apparently learned nothing from the uproar that occurred after the band No Doubt released their latest music video that depicted lead singer Gwen Stefani as a hyper-sexualized Native American. The band removed the music video from YouTube after they received thousands of negative comments on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
No Doubt’s video premiered on Facebook on November 2nd and was removed shortly after.
But days later on November 7th, the creative minds at Victoria’s Secret sent model Karlie Kloss down the runway wearing a headdress and jewelry usually reserved for special ceremonies. And of course, she was a sexy “Victoria’s Secret angel.”
To add insult to injury the headdress that reached the floor appears to be one usually reserved for tribe Chiefs.
The American Indian Studies Center is a research institute founded in 1969 at the University of California, Los Angeles, dedicated to addressing American Indian issues and supporting Indian nations. The Center also serves as a bridge between the academy and indigenous peoples locally, nationally, and internationally, with a goal of advancing understandings between Native and non-Native communities. One particular challenge faced by American Indians in the United States is a perceived invisibility and a corresponding lack of understanding of the contemporary existence and relevance of Native peoples. We work to dismantle such barriers at the American Indian Studies Center, which remain due to a lack of knowledge about Native communities, including, for example, the fact that Los Angeles is home to the nation’s largest urban Native American population.
This perceived invisibility holds numerous consequences for Native peoples, including perceptions that American Indians are mere historical relics, frozen in time as stereotypically savage, primitive, uniquely-spiritualized and - in the case of Native women - hyper-sexualized objects to be tamed. No Doubt’s recent “Looking Hot” music video, released to fans via its Facebook page on November 2, 2012, is replete with such highly offensive and destructive images of Native peoples in general and Native women specifically.
The music video demonstrates the height of cultural misappropriation and a complete indifference towards and ignorance about contemporary Indian people. The video at once employs Native imagery and symbols, many of which still hold deep spiritual and ceremonial significance for Native Americans - including feathers, tipis, and fire - while at the same time situating such imagery in a (largely inaccurate) set of depictions of Indians at the turn of the century as primitive peoples fighting cowboys (and losing) in the Wild West. In this sense, the video diminishes Native people and Native cultures while, simultaneously, co-opting Indians and indigeneity for exploitative gain. In essence, it represents the grossest kind of cultural misappropriation.
Most importantly, however, the video is rife with imagery that glorifies aggression against Indian people, and, most disturbingly, denigrates and objectifies Native women through scenes of sexualized violence. Much like the 19th century paintings advancing the ethos of manifest destiny1 - the belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent, bringing civilization and light to a primitive people - the video draws on familiar tropes of the conquest of the continent and, concomitantly, the ravage of the Native female. As lead singer Gwen Stefani writhes, partially dressed (as an Indian) and shackled in ropes while overseen by domineering white men brandishing pistols, today real Native American women in the United States are in a state of crisis.
November is Native American History Month.
Photo: Model Karlie Kloss walks the runway during the Victoria’s Secret 2012 Fashion Show on November 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS)
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) along with a group of DREAMers went door to door early Tuesday morning to remind Latinos in Los Angeles’ Sun Valley to vote. The group, which started canvassing door-to-door at 7:30am, brought their own alarm clock in the form of mariachis.
The group urged voters to vote for those who can’t.
“They say it is a shame / say it’s a shame / that makes you cry” sang the mariachi band, singing lyrics especially written to wake up the of Sun Valley community and urge them to get up and vote.
One of the DREAMers accompanying the mariachis was Zuleyma Barajas who recently benefited for the Deffered Action program President Barack Obama approved earlier this year.
“This is something that matters to us,” Barajas told the San Fernando Sun. “Latinos [who can vote] are the voice of us who can not do it,” she added.
Jorge Mario Cabrera, a CHIRLA spokesman, told the San Fernando Sun the decision to have DREAMers visit homes was a way to illustrate the need for an immigration reform in the Presidential term. “The young Dreamers have joined this campaign because even though they can’t vote, they’re asking voters to protect their dreams and fight so that the next Administration approves something beyond a Deferred Action,” Cabrera said.
Of the 52 million Latinos in the United States, 24 million are registered to vote, representing 11% of the entire electorate. In 2012, President Obama set a new record, winning his second term in office with the support of 75 percent the Latino electorate.
The nation was able to choose a new president without incident on Tuesday night. But three days after the presidential election, the state of Arizona is not only not done tallying up votes—it’s now actually tallying up the number of uncounted votes. And the number is getting larger by the day. Today Arizona advocacy groups are demanding the Department of Justice get involved to figure out what exactly is going on and protect the integrity of the state elections.
Some 631,000 ballots cast in Arizona have yet to be counted, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said in a statement Thursday. The number was 602,334 on Wednesday. Hanging in the balance are several hotly contested races, including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s effort to hold onto his seat for a sixth term. In Maricopa County alone 459,000 uncounted early and provisional ballots surely could swing the race either way—as of Tuesday night Arpaio held a 90,000-vote lead over Democratic challenger Paul Penzone.
“We’re deeply concerned by these shocking allegations and the notion that days after the election, nearly half a million Arizona ballots haven’t been tallied,” Monica Sandschafer, executive director of the Arizona Center for Empowerment said in a statement. “If true, this means that the voices of 1 in 15 Arizonans are simply being discarded. Nearly half of all early ballots in Maricopa County have yet to be counted.”