“This election has shown what we’ve known since our parents arrived in this country—it’s up to us!” activist Jerónimo Saldaña said.
It’s projected that almost 15 million Latinos voted in the presidential election, and most of them were Latinas. Out of that group, a majority, around 70% of Latinos, voted for Joe Biden.
However, several political analysts said in the months and weeks leading up to the election that the Democratic party wasn’t doing enough to reach Latino voters throughout the election cycle. So, how did Latinos cause such a powerful impact on this year’s election, especially in key swing states? The credit falls on Latino organizations on the ground.
With so much discussion about the Latino vote, the massive turnout is the result of grassroots organizations such as Mi Familia Vota, Jolt Texas, New Florida Majority, Poder Latinx, UNITE HERE, and PoderNC, that have been mobilizing Latinos to vote not just during this election cycle, but year round.
“Latinos have had enough and thanks to the powerful decades-long organizing of groups like Puente Arizona, LUCHA AZ, Mijente, and so many others who invested in the creation of the infrastructure to mobilize our gente, we saw an unprecedented turnout,” activist Jerónimo Saldaña told The Americano.
Saldaña adds, “the Democratic National Party is not our political home.” He says: “We, ourselves, need to run for office and create our own political opportunities. If anything, this election has shown what we’ve known since our parents arrived in this country—it’s up to us!”
5 Organizations That Boosted Latino Outreach in This Year’s Presidential Election
United We Dream Action
In the past six months, United We Dream Action was on the ground in various states nationwide. From Arizona to Colorado, they didn’t stop reaching out to Latinos—and they could tell the community was ready to vote.
“People understood clearly what was at stake,” Greisa Martínez Rosas, United We Dream Action’s executive director, told The Americano. The organization reached an estimated 2 million voters across the country that were either undecided or first-time voters.
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“When we talk about the Latino vote, we are also talking about young people,” Martínez Rosas said. She added that an estimated 40% of eligible Latino voters are under the age of 35. It is that demographic that has had successful social movements nationwide, she said.
“It’s also important to recognize that the majority of voters are Latinas. So I feel the whole story is that Latinos are turning out to vote because we believe it is important for us to invest in the community,” she said.
Voto Latino played a significant role in registering and mobilizing Latino voters to the polls. Nationwide, the organization registered 601,330 voters. However, since 2012, Voto Latino has registered 1,120,784 people, including 15% of all new voters in Texas in 2018.
This year, through a targeted campaign, Voto Latino invested $33.7 million in this election’s most important battleground states. The organization registered 263,581 voters in Texas, greater than the margin of victory in the state’s 2018 Senate race. In Georgia and North Carolina, states with some of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the country, Voto Latino registered 35,754 and 39,240 voters, respectively. In Arizona, a state that has suppressed Latino communities for decades and has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996, Voto Latino registered 54,610 voters.
Since the election of President Donald Trump, Mijente has worked diligently to keep Latinos engaged and civically aware of political issues—while also helping them financially through various fundraisers and campaigns during the pandemic crisis.
They launched in 2015 to “bring attention to and address the lack of political organization in the Latinx and Chicanx community—independent of the establishment of the Democratic party and corporate interests—to fight for economic, racial, gender, and climate justice,” the organization’s site says.
Many are speculating as to how and why so many Latinos voted in Arizona. A large part of the turnout can be attributed to the work done by Living United for Change in Arizona—LUCHA AZ— a membership-led, grassroots organization that builds power with Arizona’s working families to advance social, racial, and economic justice for all.
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Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who won her race by almost 80%, credited the Arizona swing to Biden to the work of LUCHA AZ. Yesterday she tweeted that their work is “Years in the making” and added, “AZ is LUCHA blue because of grassroots organizations that organized against hate and racism.”
Latino Victory, co-founded by Eva Longoria and Henry R. Muñoz III, is a progressive organization working to grow Latino political power by increasing Latino representation at every government level and building a base of Latino donors to support this critical work.
Each local and national election, Latino Victory has supported Latino progressives with their campaign, as well as engaging with Latinos nationwide.
This year, several of the Latino candidates they endorsed won their respective seats in Congress, including Amy Mercado, who became the first Latina ever elected as Orange County Property Appraiser, Teresa Leger Fernández, who is now the first Latina to represent New Mexico in Congress, and Ricky Hurtado, who is poised to become the first Latino to represent North Carolina in Congress.