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Latinos in Virginia Make Their Voices Heard Through Voting

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Election Day is around the corner, enthusiasm in swing states is higher than it is anywhere else and the Latino electorate continues to be one of the most important stories in many battleground states across the country.  It is estimated that just over 12.2 million Latinos will vote on Tuesday, November 6, an increase of 22% over 2008.  In states like Virginia the Latino vote is less than 3% but it is still consider one of the top 10 states with high concentration of Latino voters and our political priorities could determine the election result, since it is expected to be a very tight race between the two candidates.  When you have a race this close in swing states every single vote can make a difference, in this context the Latino vote could play a central role defining this election. 

 

We are a day away from the election and all the LCLAA chapters and staff are focusing on the final stage to get out and protect the Latino vote. I am very excited and motivated to be leading a group of staff and volunteers in Virginia as we make the final push to make sure Latinos go out to the polls, we will be covering the voter bilingual protection hotlines on Monday and working as poll monitors on Tuesday.  LCLAA knows that the power in our community lies in mobilizing our families and constituents to make a difference.

 Some of LCLAA’s priorities this year have been to push back on voter suppression in many different states, and VA is one of these states that have been trying to install measures that hurt democracy.  This is an issue that affects mainly low income and minority communities.  This year the Virginia’s legislature passed new restrictions on voters to prevent them from exercising their voting rights. Groups from all over Virginia rallied to defeat the worst of those laws, but some changes were still made.  Conservative groups have also tried to create confusion and intimidation to depress turnout by Latinos and other communities of color.  For example deceptive phone calls were made targeting minority communities in the state, the calls informed voters of the ability to vote early and over the phone, due to the possibility of long lines at the polls on Election Day. The information given over these phone calls is completely inaccurate.  These calls are an example of deceptive election practices in order to prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots. Still, despite these obstacles and divides, 2012 looks to be the year of the Latino voter. 

Latinos in Virginia have their own priorities and important issues that will determine their reason for voting.  Among Latinos in the state, the most important issue in the November 6 election are immigration reform and a law to regularize undocumented youth, known as the Dream Act, the economy and job creation, in a state where unemployment is below the national average (5.9% in August).

As a longtime Virginia resident there are issues that are central for the future of my family.  As a mother I have vested interest in Education, I see it and breath it every day since my children will be a product of that system.  As a Latina I know this election, like every election, is an opportunity to make our voices heard.   There is a lot at stake for us and healthcare access, women’s rights and reproductive justice are also key issues to consider when going to the polls, we have the power to influence the future of our families and our community.  So, as part of this vast minority community in a state of highly importance for this election, I will be out there on November 6, making sure that our voting rights are respected and that every vote gets counted and always keeping in mind that our 13 electoral votes are critical for the outcome of this election. If we vote we have more possibilities of negotiation with our representatives to better advocate for our priorities.  Latinos have the responsibility to go out to the polls, to demand their right to vote and not be pushed aside anymore. We are growing in numbers and in political strength, and on Tuesday, our voices will be heard.  Latinos are going to make a difference in Virginia.

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