Count Me In: The Latino Vote
Para español, haga clic aquí.
This story originally appeared in the Espresso con leche blog.
I remember a day eight years ago, in which I felt like I had my hands tied. I felt furious. Frustrated. Voiceless. Powerless.
It was a day like today, eight years ago, Election Day in the United States, when Senator John Kerry was running against President George W. Bush. I was to turn 18 in exactly two weeks. And there was nothing I could do.
However, I did do something. I did volunteer work with Mami, phone banking, knocking on doors, and attending events in my community.
During the last general election four years ago, I’m ashamed to say I didn’t get as involved. But I voted in a national election for the first time, and it was the most historic election in the United States.
This year, I’ve turned more to social media. Even though I haven’t gone out to do volunteer work, I feel I have learned more about the importance of the Latino vote this year than during any other year.
I’ve been to large conferences like LULAC and LATISM ’12, where the role of Latinos in this election has been reiterated often.
(Original photo from es.memegenerator.net)
I mailed my absentee ballot weeks ago. I took the time to learn about the candidates and the local amendments. I’ve educated myself on issues that are very relevant to our community -- health care, education, immigration, and voter suppression to name a few -- and on shocking statistics, according to a CNN article published in June:
• There are currently 50.5 million Latinos in the U.S.
• According to the 2012 U.S. Census, there has been a 43% increase in the Latino population since the 2012 Census.
• An estimated 29% of the U.S. population will be Latino in 2050.
• 59.4% of Latinos were registered voters in 2008.
• 49.9% of Latinos voted in the 2008 election.
• According to VotoLatino.org, Latinos between the ages of 18 and 25 are the demographic least registered to vote.
Are you seeing a disturbing pattern? If Latinos who are registered to vote don’t exercise that right, our citizenship loses its value. We need to raise our voices.
It’s a good thing there are many bilingual resources on the Internet with the purpose of educating the Latino voter. Here are a few:
• League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in English and Spanish
• Latinos in Social Media, articles about the Latino vote (English)
• Ya Es Hora, a campaign to increase the civic participation of Latinos (Spanish)
• Know Your Voting Rights (English)
• Voting Checklist (English and Spanish)
• MomsRising.org, an organization that advocates for the rights of moms and children (English)
• Voto Latino, a non-partisan organization focused on getting Latinos to vote (English)
Now that you have all these great resources at your disposal, and if you’re already registered to vote, there is simply no excuse. We have to raise our voices. And we have to do it now.