Organizers are aiming to get a record number of Latinx voters registered for 2020, but will it work?
Latinos are registering to vote in record numbers, but will the “sleeping giant” actually vote?
There’s a difference between reaching record-numbers of registered Latino voters, and getting a record number of Latinos to actually vote when real action is needed.
“Latinos could flip this state blue,” or “Latinos could be the decisive factor in the Presidential election,” have been the common catch phrases, ever since it was revealed Latinos would be the largest non-white voting demographic in the nation, signaling their mounting importance as the Presidential election looms.
Both Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are vying for the Latino Vote in a way never before seen, with both candidates appealing to the demographic with targeted ads in Spanish in regions where the vote could go either way.
Joe Biden has especially been on a pursuit of the Latino Vote as of late, recently releasing “The Biden Agenda for the Latino Community,” a comprehensive plan to uplift the community.
While Biden has a lead over Trump in major polls, it is narrow, and there is still a large group of Latino voters, like Latinos for Trump, that could end up tipping the scale.
And even more fundamental to note, while Latinos represent 13.3% of potential voters, 15 to 18 million eligible Latino voters have yet to participate in the political process.
That’s why voter advocacy groups are working hard to register Latino communities across the United States. While some of these groups and movements to increase voter turnout are seeing record numbers, it does not mean it will translate to real action.
Voto Latino, for instance, saw record-level voter registration soon after the George Floyd protests. Despite the pandemic, Voto Latino reported it has been able to keep its grassroots voter registration program on track, aiming to gather at least half-a-million young Latinos by Election Day.
Another way voter registration has been promoted has been through visual media and TV like “VOTAMOS,” a programming series that educates the public about civic participation. VOTAMOS specifically gives families examples of how each vote has the capacity to shape issues dear to Latinx individuals.
And perhaps the most direct form of raising voter awareness is through local events — now gone virtual — which feature well-known politicians or figures well-known to the community.
In Philadelphia, for instance, Venezolanos con Biden and Boricuas con Biden featured Janet Diaz, Candidate for Pennsylvania’s state Senate (D-13), and state representatives Danilo Burgos, Angel Cruz, and Manny Guzman, a candidate for the state House (D-127) in a roundtable discussion regarding the importance of the Latino Vote.
Each of these measures help in terms of registering voters, however, the Latino vote has widely been reported as a “sleeping giant.” Yes, the Latino vote has been long overlooked, and is now finally garnering the attention it has long deserved.
But will the sleeping giant be bothered to mail-in ballots, or physically show up to polls? That is the question at hand.