Letter from HF President: What’s at Stake in 2016
We’re past Super Tuesday, which means that hundreds of delegates have already been divvied up, and primary season is in full effect. Given how complex, confusing and unpredictable this campaign season has been, it’s pretty clear each and every primary contest can go a long way toward settling who the Republican and Democratic nominees for president will be in November.
The importance of the Latino vote in the Super Tuesday states is undeniable. In states such as Texas, Georgia, Colorado and Virginia, hundreds of thousands of registered Latino voters helped decide key races. In the event that the race for the nominations remains unsettled into the spring, a possibility that no one I know discounts, there is a chance for Latino voters in other states such as Florida and New York to be important factors in the race to replace President Obama.
Of course, we all know what’s at stake this election cycle. This isn't just another year for us. Or our communities. Or our nation. Elections matter - and given the platforms staked out by some candidates - this one matters more than most.
Economic opportunities and health care. Education and civil rights. Immigration and public housing.
These are just some of the issues that will be affected by who wins these upcoming elections. March reminds us that we really have no time to waste to ensure that Latinos wield their political importance and influence. In 2016, more than 27 million Latinos will be eligible to vote, but more than 12 million of those eligible voters remain unregistered.
In order to address this disconnect between Latino demographics and Latino electoral power, Hispanic Federation has joined with the other members of the National Latino Civic Engagement Table to launch “Our Vote/Our Future,” a strategic voter engagement partnership to galvanize and motivate millions of Latinos ahead of the 2016 elections. In addition to Hispanic Federation, the National Latino Civic Engagement Table includes, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Latino Victory Foundation, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mi Familia Vota Education Fund (MFVEF), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) and Voto Latino.
Our Vote/Our Future will combine grassroots, door-to-door voter registration and mobilization while leveraging new technologies such as mobile apps to increase Latino participation in the 2016 election campaigns. Research tells us that the more Latinos know about the issues and the more they are reminded to vote, the more likely they are to head to the polls on Election Day. We can’t leave it to individual campaigns to energize and mobilize Latino voters. What’s more we can’t allow state officials who fear the power of an engaged Latino electorate to make voting difficult for our communities. As I said, too much is at stake in this election to leave anything to chance.
Now, more than ever, we need to make our voices heard. By working with local community-based organizations, citizen councils, labor chapters and faith-based institutions, we are committed to spearheading a historic grassroots outreach and mobilization campaign that will ensure that Latinos play a decisive role in determining the next President of the United States. We hope you will join us in this effort. ¡Juntos, siempre se puede!