There's been a widespread assumption that after next year's redistricting, there will be a new congressional district in the Orange-Osceola county area that favors a Hispanic representative. And there's been endless coverage in the political press about how the Hispanic vote can tilt the election and that Republicans need to gain ground among America's fast-growing minority group.
So a comment from state Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, sounded more than a little jarring at Tuesday's reapportionment committee meeting:
"Before we design a district anywhere in the state of Florida for Hispanic voters, we need to ascertain that they are citizens of the United States," Hays said. "We all know there are many Hispanic-speaking people in Florida that are not legal. And I just don't think it's right that we try to draw a district that encompoasses people that really have no business voting anyhow."
The video is here, and Hays makes the comment at about 2:27:00.
We're awaiting a call back from Hays to clarify how he might envision checking the citizenship of more than one million Hispanic voters in Florida, or whether other ethnic groups should be verified as well.