By Christine Alonzo, Executive Director, Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization
As Election Day draws near, there is a constant reminder of the importance of the Latino vote. The level of importance that is placed on 25 million eligible voters in the United States comes but every four years.
Here in Colorado, where Latinos make up 21 percent of the population, 555,000 of which are eligible to vote, there is no doubt that we can make a difference and decide the outcome of a presidential election. Could this be why Colorado is considered a “battleground state”? My answer is yes! How do we coordinate our efforts to not only register newly eligible voters, but to get them out to vote?
This past year, the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO) partnered with the National Conference on Citizenship to identify what percentage of Latino Voters actually get out and vote. Research showed that 52 percent of Latinos who were eligible to vote did so in the general election, while 73 percent of their White counterparts voted. This is a disparity of 21 percent; from these numbers we can expect that Colorado has quite a bit of work to do if we want to be sure that a wall is not built around us.
What can we do to prevent the worst? Work, and work united! All Colorado Latino organizations that participate in get-out-the-vote efforts or register newly eligible voters are doing so together. We are doing voter registration drives together with Mi Familia Vota, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, CLLARO, the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), and many other Latino-serving organizations.
We have united. Juntos unidos is how we get things accomplished and voting is how we show the rest of the country si se puede. We did it in 2008 and again in 2012. What I think we need to be mindful of is to not let politicians aprovecharse de nuestra gente.