Did you know that for the first time in history, the Latinx community is the second-largest voting bloc in the country and the largest ethnic majority in the US? With less than a month left until the election, we spoke with Camille Martin from the Voto Latino Foundation, who have been organizing and activating Latinxs since they were founded in 2004. We asked her why the Latinx vote is more important now than ever: ‘This election cycle, over 32 million Latinx will be eligible to vote. Of that number, three million are young Latinx who have turned 18 since 2014 – that’s a lot of new voters,’ says Martin. Read on to find out more about the important work Voto Latino Foundation does, what makes this election so unique, the importance of voting early and how you can get involved.
Can you share the premise of Voto Latino Foundation’s work?
‘Voto Latino Foundation is a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy. Through innovative digital campaigns, culturally relevant programs and authentic voices, we are shepherding the Latinx community towards full realization of its political power.’
What has been your path to supporting voter engagement?
‘Voter engagement is a key element for a healthy democracy. Voto Latino Foundation is making sure that half a million citizens are registered to vote; we have registered 500,438 this year as of October 6th, 2020. In addition to this, we are providing information to over a million people in our network to cast a ballot safely this election.’
How is this election cycle different from previous cycles?
‘This election is completely different than what we are used to. A lot of voters will be casting their vote by mail, or they will be voting early. Voto Latino Foundation is actively working to inform over one million young Latinx in our network on how to cast a ballot safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Through our text-banking program, we’re reaching out to millions of Latinx and first-time voters to make sure that they have a plan to vote safely this election.’
What are the most important issues for young Latinx voters?
‘The top three issues that young Latinx voters care about are: healthcare, the economy and police reform. The ACA, which is better known as Obamacare, is a good first step to the comprehensive health care we all want but we still have a lot of work left to do.
Young Latinx voters want a strong economy for their futures and so they can be an asset to the workforce. As we know the police injustibly target communities affecting the Black and Latinx in this country. The police also destroy lives and separates families in Latinx communities, in the form of police brutality, ICE detention centers, and Customs and Border Patrol abuses.’
How can brands support healthy elections?
‘Brands can play an active role in informing their customers about the power of their vote. Brands can also provide their customers with resources on how to cast a ballot - especially amid a global pandemic. Resources such as Voto Latino Foundation’s Election Center can be used to help folks learn where they can vote early, if they can vote by mail in their state.’
What are some of the more innovative Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaigns or moments you’ve seen come to life in 2020?
‘So many great campaigns are happening this year. With everyone being stuck at home, platforms such as Instagram and Facebook Live are being used more frequently. Voto Latino Foundation is really proud of our 2020 Power Summit that we hosted last Friday, October 2nd. Our power summits in the past have been hosted in Austin, Texas, and train around 500 Latinx activists. This was our first virtual power summit, and we were able to provide programming that revolved around the power of our vote with speakers such as Bernie Sanders and Rosario Dawson to over 65,000 viewers via social media.’
What is the one thing we can do to ensure healthy elections for all communities in 2020 and beyond?
‘We strongly encourage folks to vote early because it’s a great way to skip election day lines and get your vote in the bank safely before election day. When you vote early, make sure to wear a mask, keep six feet apart, and wash your hands to have a safe voting experience. To check where and how you can vote early in your county, visit our Election Center. At Voto Latino Foundation, beyond making sure that all eligible voters cast a ballot safely this cycle, we actively work to make sure that all elections are fair and safe, and that there’s an accurate representation of Latinx communities when voting.’
How can we support the Voto Latino Foundation movement?
‘There are a lot of great ways you can support us. You can donate to the Voto Latino Foundation so that we can continue encouraging and facilitating young Latinx voters to register to vote and become more politically involved. You can also volunteer with us this election cycle through text banking. Visit votolatino.org/get-involved/ to learn more.’