Groups travel to key states to engage Latino voters to register
WASHINGTON, DC –(ENEWSPF)–July 23, 2012. National Latino advocacy groups including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will embark this week on the ¡Todos a Votar! (“Let’s Vote”) Tour to register and mobilize Latino voters throughout the country.
The Latino voter engagement tour will kick off in Northern California on Wednesday, July 25 and continue to San Diego. From California, the voter registration campaign will go to the key Latino vote states of Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, and Texas.
Joining forces in the national public education effort are SEIU, Mi Familia Vota (MFV), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Center for Community Change (CCC), Presente.org, Voto Latino, and the Hispanic Federation. The organizations will work with activists on the ground and online to register Latino voters, inform them of the issues at stake in this election, and help mobilize them to the polls.
The first event will be a Twitter Town Hall on Wednesday, July 25, at 5 pm Pacific, 8 pm Eastern. Latino voter and youth leaders will chat online about key issues such as voter protection. The hashtag is #voto12
Field and online activities will continue throughout the state including Stockton, Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Diego from Wednesday to Friday. Also on Friday, LCLAA will contact 5,000 Latino houses as part of a vote canvassing operation in Orlando, FL.
“This is one of the most important elections for the Latino community because there’s a lot at stake–an agenda that calls for good jobs, tax fairness, affordable health care, and creation of a sensible immigration process,” stated Eliseo Medina, SEIU’s International Secretary-Treasurer. “We have a chance to shape this agenda via the ballot box, but it’s all in our hands. We have to make sure we are all registered, educated and ready to vote come November. That’s what the ¡Todos a Votar! Tour is all about.”
Among those knocking on voters’ doors will be first-time voter Georgina Castaneda, an SEIU-ULTCW member from Los Angeles. “We, as Latinos, need to be united and we need to vote and have our voices heard. It’s about voting for a better quality of life, fighting against discrimination and the attacks on Latinos, and it’s about our seniors having better healthcare. I work for our seniors at a home care facility and I see the needs of our seniors. We can’t afford any cuts to Medicare,” Castaneda said.
“The national picture shows that the Latino community is no longer sitting at the sidelines. Today, people of Hispanic origin make up this nation’s largest ethnic minority, with fifty million strong,” said LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “In some key battleground states, the number of eligible but unregistered Latino voters runs into the hundreds of thousands or even millions–on top of these millions of potential voters, DHS estimates that there are 8.5 million legal permanent residents that are eligible to become citizens and vote in the fall election. LULAC’s work with voter registration drives is critical to mobilizing the 50.5 million Hispanics to register and vote.”
Mi Familia Vota Executive Director Ben Monterroso agreed that the potential of the Latino vote has yet to be maximized. “If there was ever any one year that the Latino community needs to come out and vote, this is it. We are going to do all we can to get Latinos registered and voting,” he added.
According to LCLAA Executive Director Hector Sanchez, “At a time of unprecedented challenges for the Latino community, engaging Latinos to vote in record numbers is more important than ever. Increasing our participation in the political system will help enact policies to prevent families from being torn apart, allow Latino children to achieve their dream of attending college, and fight the scourge of racial profiling.”
Voto Latino President Maria Teresa Kumar said, “Young American Latinos represent this country’s future, and our communities have to act quickly to empower them to register and vote. The stakes in this election are too high to ignore the power and the potential of young voters.”
According to recent National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) projections, over 12 million Latinos are expected to vote this presidential election. Latinos are also poised to determine the outcome of the national election for president in several battleground states, including, but not limited to, Nevada, Colorado, and Florida. Both congressional and presidential candidates have made vast efforts to appeal to the growing Latino electorate.