Now, we know the two final candidates for the presidency. From the Democratic Party it is Senator Obama and for the Republicans it’s Senator McCain.
During the last primary elections, at a national level, Latino participation increased significantly, as it did for other racial groups. According to Pew Hispanic Center, the most significant Latino participation was in big states such as California (32% compared to 24% in 2004) and Texas (66% compared to 32% in 2004). In Puerto Rico, 68% turned out to vote compared to 32% in 2004. Almost half of the Latino voters at a national level are between 18 -29 years old.
Hispanics represent the largest minority that is continuously growing. Currently, they represent 46 million people and 15% of the United States’ population. From these 46 million, approximately 28 million will have the right to vote in November because some are not citizens or are below 18 years old.
Even though we don’t represent the majority, the Latino vote is the key to determining who the next president will be. That is because it is concentrated in states where the voting difference is low between the two parties. This means that voting is vital – and nowhere more than Wisconsin where the difference in 2004 was just 11,800 votes.
Unfortunately, from the Latino community in Wisconsin only 33% (31,604) is eligible to vote, compared to a participation of 73% from other races.
During the past few years, there has been a lot of repression and an increase on racial profiling against our community, due to the lack of a just and decent immigration reform. As part of the workforce, Latinos have suffered from the Free Trade Agreement’s policies where factories have closed in the US and have left to other countries where they can pay miserable salaries, and also because of the high prices in gas, electricity, college education and health insurance.
As an affected community, we should have a 100% participation in exercising our right to vote because our future relies on this. We can only achieve this goal if all Latinos get involved in Voces de la Frontera’s efforts to identify and register voters during these key elections.
You, brother and sister, that have the right to vote, carry the hope of thousands of people that are waiting for a change. The solution to making a change in the national priorities that are affecting our community is in your hands.
If it didn’t have power in society, we wouldn’t have a huge history of struggle to obtain the right to vote. Now is the time to show our politicians and racists groups that we don’t only march in historical numbers but that we make our voices heard through voting.