Encouraging evidence of the growing strength and vibrancy of Latino civic participation continues to emerge. Unfortunately, deliberate efforts to silence the voice of these communities continue on as well. In ways similar to the call earlier this year for Latinos to boycott the census in the name of immigration reform, there has been a call for Latinos to not vote this election. Below is Kapor Foundation key grant partner VotoLatino’s statement in response to this “don’t vote” campaign.
With only a day left until this year’s mid-term election, we hope not only that you vote, and that you encourage your friends, co-workers, family and community members to do the same, but that we also collectively be watchful and vocal about any attempts to disenfranchise or discourage our active participation.
Here at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation offices, we’re gearing up ourselves. We hope many of you coming over from Oakland, especially you morning casual carpoolers, have seen the “VOTE” sign in our windows, visible from the Fremont Street off-ramp in San Francisco. And, beginning tomorrow, we will once again host the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law as they corral as many legal professionals as possible throughout the nation to answer calls and assist voters on Election Day through the 1-866-OUR-VOTE voter services Hotline.
Happy early Election Day to everyone! Looking forward to hearing your own stories from these mid-term elections …
Voto Latino released the following statement regarding Latinos 4 Reform’s “Don’t Vote” campaign:
“While Voto Latino applauds the right for free speech, Voto Latino is fundamentally opposed to any organized effort by community leaders or organizers urging Latinos to sit out of the upcoming mid-term elections. The specific claims by Latinos for Reform are misleading to voters. Voting, no matter your political party or which candidate you support, is the most important civic tool that American Latinos have to be heard and understood by decision makers nationwide.
To be clear, only one thing happens when you don’t vote. You vote against your interest. Instead, you elect your opponent’s interest.
Now, more than ever, American Latinos are feeling squeezed. They have the highest unemployment rate, highest foreclosure rate and highest high school drop out rate. The next Congress will decide our country’s next steps and will take up legislation addressing our community’s top priorities. As a result, it is imperative that American Latinos exercise their vote to ensure that their voice is clear and present. The American Latino community does not have the luxury to sit this election out.
Voto Latino is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to educate and empower American Latinos and young people to become engaged in the political process. Through the multi-tiered United We Win campaign, Voto Latino is actively working on a national and local level to get out the vote this mid-term election.”