It is estimated that at this year’s election there are an additional 21% of Latinos who have become naturalized citizens meaning that 24 million are eligible to vote. It is no surprise then, that this voting bloc is an important one, especially in key battleground states such as our very own, Florida. Hispanics are more civically engaged than ever. An October 2012 survey found that 14% of them are volunteering and helping others register to vote, 77% are actively engaging in political conversations, discussing candidates with friends or family members, and 74% noted that the presidential debates were important in helping them make their voting decision. Clearly, Hispanics are very engaged this election, and of those polled, 84% of them said they would definitely be voting come November 6th. Latino voters now constitute 10% of the total electorate, and are very enthusiastic of the prospects of the nation with them being an active part of it.
Unfortunately, in some parts of the country, people are actively and maliciously working to undermine their voting power. In Arizona’s notorious Maricopa County, the county’s elections department issued pamphlets aimed at informing everyone of the upcoming election, with explanations as to the requirements for voting, the registration deadline, where one can find registration forms, and most importantly, the official dates of voting.
They issued two of such pamphlets, one in English and one in Spanish. Yet the Spanish version of the pamphlet has the election date written as November 8th whereas the English version has written down the correct date of the general elections, which is November 6th. The two pamphlets are virtually identical, except for the obvious fact that the dates were mistakenly stated in the Spanish version. I believe that it would be naïve of one to think that this major detail was simply a typo that was overlooked. Nevertheless, the Arizona elections department has issued an apology, claiming that “it was an honest mistake.” But given the state’s track record for disenfranchising its immigrant population, no reasonable person would believe that this tactic was not just another one aimed at the same end.
The fact of the matter is that Latinos are evermore becoming a crucial fixture in our nation, and the power of this voting bloc is more eminent than ever. Latinos are engaged and enthusiastic about the upcoming November 6th election and we shall all come out in hoards to vote for our preferred candidate. Because we Latinos are here to stay and will actively participate in our nation’s democracy.