James Holmes

Voter Suppression, the Latino Vote, & Why It Matters to All of Us

Filed By James Holmes | August 01, 2012 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Florida Voter Purge, Latino vote, National Council of La Raza, Republicans, Texas Politics, voter registration, voter suppression

Last night on The Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow sat down with Lou Dubose, editor of The Spectator to discuss the changing voting demographic in Texas - and the possibility that the Lone Star State may soon develop into a purple battleground. The cause? The Republicans are going too far towards crazy, and the reality that Texas, like much of the country, is becoming more and more Latino - something the Republicans are either ignoring, or doing their best to quietly fight.

We have seen a rise in voter suppression tactics popping up across the states as we draw closer and closer to November - most famously Florida's voter purge under the guise of controlling voter fraud (which study after study finds completely unnecessary).

Most of these revolve around requiring a voter ID, something that costs the voter money and disproportionally affects minority groups and young voters - groups that traditionally vote Democrat - and restrictions on early voting and grassroots registration campaigns.

There are many reasons for the Right to fear the growing Latino vote - and for the greater LGBT community to reach our to our Latino brothers and sisters. As the Washington Blade reported in early July:

An Arcus Foundation-funded survey that [the National Council of La Raza] and Social Science Research Solutions released in April shows that 54 percent of Latinos support marriage rights for same-sex couples. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they back civil unions for gays and lesbians, while 78 percent of Latinos support openly gay and lesbian servicemembers. The same poll found that while 83 percent of respondents support LGBT-specific employment protections, only 55 percent said they support adoption rights for gays and lesbians.

And as Latino Decisions reports:

By the 2012 election, Latinos will account for over 10% of the citizen adult population - potential voters - in 11 states. In another 13 states, Latino account for 5-10% of the citizen adult population. All told, that's 24 states where Latinos have the capacity to influence electoral outcomes, given a competitive statewide election.

. . . .

Overall, we estimate 21.5 million Latino citizen adults will be eligible to vote in November 2012, up from 19.5 million in 2008. If registration rates remain constant, that will leave over 8 million Latino eligible voters who are not registered in 2012.

The National Council of La Raza, the nations largest Latino Civil Rights and advocacy organization is on a mission to fight these laws from the ground up. Check out this new video focusing on getting out the vote in Florida, despite the political effort against them.

The Republicans are failing at reaching the Latino vote - another sign of their delusional ideas of what Americans should look like, who they should love, and who they should pray to.

But the LGBT community has often been just as guilty of ignoring the minority voices within our own community. We need to step up our game as well. Unless we come around and open our doors to the ever changing and diverse American public, we are just as guilty as our enemies.

Want to learn more? Check out La Raza's voter registration campaign here.

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