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Silently Trying to Silence us: Voter Suppression and why it is important to make our voice heard, before we get to the polls!

June 25, 2021

We keep hearing about it, it is all over the news, it pops up in conversations on social media, saying how it is going to affect the next elections, and the consequences of that will be around for generations. But what is voter suppression? Why is it a big deal?

The simple answer, you can find in Wikipedia: Voter suppression is a strategy used to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting

Now, the not-so-simple answer.

Voting is the most effective way to make our voices heard on the issues that matter most to us. That means you will probably vote for legislation or political representatives that will help you live a better life; a better life you deserve because you are part of this diverse and vibrant community that is helping build this country.

But, as it turns out, the issues and legislation that interest you, are against the interests of certain politicians, including today’s Republican party.

 Let us dive deeper into this voter suppression tactic that is being enacted at an alarming rate.

You may have heard that this is happening in many states, but especially in Texas, Michigan, and Wisconsin: Aside from the historic racist policies established to disenfranchise voters from minorities and people of color, suppression is reviving well-known tactics, including English-only ballots, literacy tests, poll taxes, denial of voting rights to prisoners and former felons, redistricting of voting districts, allegations of voting fraud, the closing down of polling places, intimidation at the polls, changes to the details of absentee ballot rights, making absentee voting and registration confusing and time-consuming, malfunctioning or “fixed”  machines, no paper ballot record—all meant, it seems, to make it extremely difficult to exercise, or even deprive Latinx of the right to vote.

The list goes on and on, and we wouldn’t be able to make it fit in this article. If you want to read all the provisions and be informed to make the best decision for yourself, you can find them hereAs of May 14, 2021, there are at least 61 bills with restrictive effects moving through 18 state legislatures, in addition to the bills that have already become law. You’ll also be able to see the provisions that democrats are presenting to try to counter the provisions Republicans are presenting, and how many have already been passed into law on both sides. But there’s only so much they can do. 

Now, back to our discussion: Why is this happening?

The volume of voter suppression bills proposed in state legislatures this year has been unprecedented. And even though they did not all get passed into law, one thing is clear: Republicans are determined to make it even harder to cast a ballot in 2022.

But why are Republicans the main actors in this voter suppression assault?

In sum, because Republicans’ base is dwindling, and it became clear during the last elections.

After Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election, there is no confidence in today’s Republican Party that they can win the White House in a diverse electorate with high turnout.  Not only is their base of non-college-educated and ultra-religious white people shrinking, but the new generation also tends to be more progressive, staying away from conservative policies (and parties).

Although their main base increased turnout in the last elections, it was just not as fast as others. In other words, the GOP is “running out” of their old school supporters. 

This is why Republicans have made it their mission to restrict the diversity vote as much as possible, and shrink the Democrat’s base by discouraging voters that wouldn’t vote Republican and stopping the exodus of Republican voters.

So why is this important for Latinx you may ask?

Today, perhaps no single issue is more important to African-Americans, Latinx, and other communities of color than protecting the right to vote for ALL Americans.

Of the more than 60 million Latinx in the United States (representing nearly one in five residents), Latinx make up 1 in 10 voters. 

We can do better…and we must do better!  It is clear that Latinx are severely underrepresented in the American political process. 

Who is going to speak for you? 

How are you and your familia going to get the education, jobs, health care services, and all the other rights you deserve?

You have to make your vote count and your voice heard. 

You are not alone, but you have to act and speak up.  

So how to speak up? Call your representatives and tell them you don’t agree with the provisions that are trying to be passed in your state.

Reclaim your power! 

Your representatives are there because your hard earned tax dollars pay them to do this job: to meet your needs and demands. They want to hear from you. Moreover, they NEED to hear from you, they need to know what your issues are as a community. 

 

To hear more about this topic tune in to Episode 7 of our podcast where we discussed it more at length, and subscribe to our channel on your favorite streaming app for weekly conversations about politics and Latinx.

We are a force that needs to be recognized. Let’s fight for this together!

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