ACLU Calls for Correction of Damaging Letter to Orange County Voters

October 20, 2006 12:00 am

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Election Officials Must Alert Estimated 14,000 Who Received Misleading Letter Threatening Deportation for Immigrants Who Vote

ORANGE, CA. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California today asked Secretary of State Bruce McPherson and Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley to immediately correct a damaging letter sent to thousands of registered voters in Orange County earlier this month. The letter, written in Spanish and purportedly sent by a group called the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, said that immigrants could face jail time and deportation if they showed up at the polls on Election Day.

In a letter sent to election officials, ACLU of Southern California Orange County director Hector Villagra urged that a corrected letter be sent immediately to affected residents before the Nov. 7 election.

“The potential damage misinformation like this can cause is incalculable,” Villagra said. “For all citizens, voting is a cornerstone of the American experience. When you tell immigrants who have become citizens they can go to jail for voting, you are spreading lies, not liberty.”

The letter to election officials notes that a thorough investigation has been ordered into the sending of the letter. However, it goes on to say that such an investigation “does not address the harm the letter has already done by misinforming thousands of naturalized citizens that they will be jailed and deported for exercising their fundamental right to vote.”

The ACLU’s letter is online at:

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