Hispanic Heritage Month 2014: #PowerOfOurVote Urges Latinos to Register, Vote in November Midterm Elections
With the November midterm elections looming, a coalition of national Latino organizations has launched a campaign to expand the Latino electorate.
Approximately 50 Latino organizations are using the Internet to launch the nationwide "#PowerOfOurVote" campaign to urge Latinos to vote on Nov. 4 and help "influence real policy changes." The campaign is part of the "Hispanic Heritage Month of Action" program, which coincides with National Hispanic Heritage Month; both started on Sept. 15 and will conclude on Oct. 15. The campaign has been touted as the first of its kind to move Latinos with the assistance of diverse Latino groups.
The Hispanic Heritage Month of Action campaign was led by Voto Latino, but an array of partner organizations include the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic National Bar Association, Hispanic Technology and Communications Partnership, League of United Latin American Citizens, Media Matters, and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. Individual public figures are also supporting the initiative, such as Diego Bernal and America Ferrera.
The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, a partner organization of the campaign, will also help improve Latino voter turnout following the record numbers during the 2012 elections. According to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' projections, over 7.8 million Latinos are expected to vote in the midterm elections, which is an increase from 6.6 million for the 2010 midterm elections.
"The midterms are usually a very important time for the Latino electorate to come out and to vote," LCLAA Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Victor Baten told Latin Post, adding this year sparked more focus on voter registration because of a lack of action on immigration reform from Congress and President Barack Obama's immigration executive action delay.
According to Baten, the Latino community has been reluctant to vote due to immigration inaction by Obama and Congress, but he viewed that as "counterproductive." He said the main objective is to have people vote and also be informed about the issues.
In addition to voter registration, Baten noted educational campaigns are taking place, citing Colorado, Florida and Virginia as examples. The three aforementioned states are important for the midterm election, but Baten said the states will play a bigger role for the 2016 elections. With the education campaigns, informing the electorate about what Congressional politicians did and did not do on immigration will play a role.
"We have chapters on the ground that are canvassing, they're registering folks to vote, they're phone making, we're doing everything we can to make sure that the narrative that's being put out that Latinos don't come out to vote is not going to happen, and we're going to have people come out to vote and in good numbers in making sure that the elected officials know that Latino voters are engaged in this and will continue to hold politicians accountable on their actions," Baten said.
In a statement, Mi Familia Vota Executive Director Ben Monterroso said Latinos will not remain idle because of the inaction in Washington, D.C, adding, "Latinos understand that the only real way to impact our future is with a strong showing of our voting power. We began the immigration debate with our record turnout in the 2012 election, and we will continue fighting for our community and for immigration reform by voting."
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