Things That Matter

9 Excuses For Not Voting… That Won’t Fly Anymore

Credit: @lta_vcu / Instagram

There are over 12.2 million Latinos that are not registered to vote. That means 12.2 million Latino voices have been put on mute because someone else has decided their future for them.

Lame people have a million excuses for not registering to vote, but they’re all bullsh*t now.

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Credit: María la del Barrio / Televisa / Caffeinepapi / Tumblr

No more excuses. Muahahahaha! ?

Because with the new mitú LatinosVote (yes, without the space) registration app, none of the following excuses are valid…

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Credit: joshmazzeo / Tumblr

1. I don’t have time.

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Credit: nycsugarqueen / Tumblr

When creating the app, mitú founder Beatriz Acevedo made sure registering would be made fast and easy. “We could not have made registering to vote easier! In less time than you heat up a tamal, unwrap it and eat it, you can download the app and register to vote!”  Yassss, queen! ??

2. It’s complicated.

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Credit: Glee / Fox / Bricesander / Tumblr

This isn’t your Facebook relationship status. You can register to vote using the LatinosVote app in 5 easy steps.

READ: It’s Alarming How Much we Don’t Care about Elections

3. It’s boring.

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Please, you’re on your phone all day anyway and it’s easier to navigate than looking for your go-to emoji.

4. I’ll do it tomorrow.

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Credit: Friends with Benefits / Screen Gems / ketrin23 / Tumblr

Just like you said about working out. Take out your phone and do it. Now!

5. I have better things to do.

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Credit: Keeping Up With the Kardashians / E! Ktrin23 / Tumblr

Is that the best you got?

6. I don’t know where to register.

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Credit: mitú

Register in our app! That’s what it looks like.

READ: #WeAreAMERICA: This Latina Will Empower You to Kick Ass

7. I have to register at the post office or DMV.

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You’re running out of excuses.

8. I don’t have a pencil to fill out the form.

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Credit: limaticart / Tumblr

That’s cute. No need for that. Technology is an amazing thing, isn’t it?

9. I probably need to answer a million questions.

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Credit: mitú

Nope, the questions are as easy as the ones you see above.

As Beatriz says, “3 minutes is a great investment to decide our future and the future of our families!” We couldn’t agree more.

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Credit: yourreactiongifs / Tumblr

By now you’ve run out of excuses, so pull out your phone and join us in making a change.

Here’s where you can download the apps:

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Click here for iPhone. Click here if you’re team Android.

We have a voice, here’s why we need to use it…

Help us empower other Latinos by clicking the share button below!

After Tiffany Cabán’s Big Win, The Aspiring District Attorney Faces A Recount Nightmare

Things That Matter

After Tiffany Cabán’s Big Win, The Aspiring District Attorney Faces A Recount Nightmare

For months leading up to the Queens District Attorney Democratic primary election, all eyes were on a young defense attorney named Tiffany Cabán. The 31-year-old had no prior experience in politics, even though her job is very political, which meant other veteran candidates had a better shot of winning this election. Cabán’s main opponent was incumbent Melinda Katz.  On the evening of June 25, election day, it looked like Cabán’s hard work and months of campaigning had paid off after she had been declared the winner. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the victorious win that the young Latina, and her supporters, had hoped for. Cabáns opponent, Katz, refused to bow out of the race after she had claimed mail-in votes remained to be counted prompting a push for a recount.

Now, weeks later it looks like Cabán will have to wait to see if she still holds the position.

A judge has declared that all votes in the recent election must be manually counted, now Melinda Katz ahead of Tiffany Cabán by 16 votes.

There has been a lot of back and forth from both camps. Some argue that 114 ballots, others say that only 16 votes separate them, but a judge ruled all must be recounted. The original count, on June 25, which declared a victory for Cabán reported her the Democratic DA candidate after she won by nearly 1,200 votes over Katz, but she contested those numbers. She then took over the lead after 4,000 paper ballots were included.

There’s no doubt that every vote should be counted, and both women adhere to a full recount.

However, there’s no denying this isn’t how Cabán thought it would go after her victory speech on June 25. Back then she told the crowd at her victory party, “We have built the most powerful, the most diverse, the most beautiful coalition that a borough-wide race has ever seen. From formerly incarcerated folks to sex workers to undocumented immigrants to community-based organizations & activists to local & national elected officials.”

Now, the Puerto Rican attorney is being forced to switch feet.  On July 5 she tweeted, “Thanks to our tireless supporters who are pouring their hearts and souls into this campaign. With a full recount coming up, there’s more work to be done. Help us make sure every valid vote is counted!”

The recount is supposed to start today and Cabán wants to ensure that every vote is counted and verified properly.

There’s no doubt that voter fraud exists in this country, but more so than that, election fraud is also possible, which is why Cabán’s team is asking for people to sign up to make sure legal people are present when votes are being counted. “Here is the updated link to sign up to observe the recount on behalf of the Cabán campaign! Please circulate widely to your lawyer friends/legal networks!!!” a Cabán supporter tweeted.

Queens County Democratic Chair Gregory Meeks is trying to ease tensions between both Democratic camps — and their supporters, saying according to a local CBS News affiliate, “We’re here today because we want to support this Democratic process. We want every valid vote counted!”

Cabán certainly had the most buzz out of all six candidates running for Queens DA office.

 

Her campaign was endorsed by several high profile politicians including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Many cheered her on for policies that would help low-income people of color who have often been the victims of the justice system. She was also praised for a grassroots organization and campaign.

“This campaign started with just four women, sitting around a kitchen table, saying: we have to change the system,” she wrote in one tweet. “So I did what many thought was unthinkable for a 31-year-old Queer Latina public defender whose parents grew up in the Woodside Houses. I decided to run.”

During the Queens Gay Pride parade, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez openly voiced her endorsement of Cabán, which gave her campaign a huge increase in supporters.

“I am so incredibly proud of @CabanForQueens – and EVERY single person who showed up for this election today. No matter how this ends, you all have stunned NY politics tonight,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “When people come together, we can beat big money in elections. People power is no fluke.”

Cabán was also seen as the underdog with a powerful story that would certainly break the mold of the Queen’s DA office. If she indeed wins the race, her victory would be historic for so many reasons. Her campaign statement said it all: “I’m a queer Latina from a working-class family. People like us are exactly who the system is trying to keep down.”

Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

Culture

Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

Arnaud Jaegers / Unsplash

In the days after the image of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, 25, and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, facedown in the Rio Grande made its way around the internet, a friend posted the photo to her story on Instagram. Her caption was of horror and sadness towards the situation. She texted me a screenshot of one of the direct messages she received in response to her post. It read “bad parenting.”

What image did your mind conjure up of what the messenger looks like? 

If you thought it was someone who looks like Trump, or any of his family members, you would be wrong.

The person who sent her this message is an immigrant to the U.S. He was born in a Latin American country to Spanish speaking parents and falls into a group many presidential candidates, especially Democrats, as they build their coalition of voters. He is millennial and Latino. He also illustrates the danger of lumping Latinos into one monolithic category—Latinos do not think the same, nor do they want the same things. 

Let’s get one thing out of the way: defining the difference between Latino and Hispanic. Someone identifying as Latino is of Latin American origin or descent. If they’re Hispanic, it means their roots are in Spain or a Spanish-speaking country. In simplified terms someone from Spain is Hispanic, they are not Latino, and a person from Brazil is Latino but not Hispanic. The two terms are often used interchangeably when talking about people south of the American border, or who speak Spanish but that is incorrect.

We’re a large and diverse group. The majority of Hispanic and Latino Americans prefer to identify with their families’ country of origin, only 24 percent prefer to self-identify as Hispanic or Latino. Which means most people are likely to answer “Mexican, Colombia, Cuban, Ecuadorian or Puerto Rican,” when asked what they are because it’s a better representation of their culture and heritage. According to a Pew Study, Hispanics in the U.S. are comprised mostly of Mexicans (35.3 million) but also includes 5.3 million Puerto Ricans and five other Hispanic origin groups with more than 1 million people each: Salvadorans, Cubans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, and Colombians.

Within the group, there are regional, cultural and ethnic differences. Using the term is the same as labeling someone as American, then realizing the moniker means different things when it’s applied to a Chinese-American from the Bay area in San Francisco, versus an Irish-American on Chicago’s South Side. It reduces the complexity of people to nothing.

projected 32 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote in 2020. This important voting bloc has a lot of potential to sway the political stage. However, to assume this group is a shoo-in for Democratic support is a mistake. Foreign-born, Hispanics are typically conservative. Those born in the U.S. describe themselves as liberalLatinos have a misogyny problem. Generally speaking, older Latinos most align with the Republican party. And naturalized citizens, turn out to vote at a higher rate

Even though Ted Cruz and his Republican party are against protection for Dreamers, support a border wall and want to do away with the Affordable Care Act—which would largely impact Latinos—35 percent of Latino voters still backed Cuban-American Cruz instead of progressive Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 Texas Senate race.

If every Latino believed these policies were bad, it would be reflected in their vote. However, it’s important to remember people make decisions for a number of reasons that do not include factors based on identity. Half of border patrol agents are Latino, and a recent report finds they are motivated by money.

Politicians’ favorite way of reaching this target demo is by attempting to speak in Spanish without being prompted. This became one of the most talked about topics after the first night of the Democratic debates last week. O’Rourke was the first to use the language with a tailored pitch that avoided answering the question on his stance towards a billionaire tax—never mind that the debate was being streamed and translated on NBC’s Spanish-sister channel Telemundo. Cory Booker followed his lead speaking in a nearly indecipherable language. Former San Antonio mayor and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro was the only Latino on stage. The only Spanish he spoke was to introduce himself and promise to “say adios to Donald Trump.”

In the days after the debate, Castro addressed critiques about his inability to speak Spanish fluently.

“Spanish was looked down upon,” he said in an interview with MSNBC. “You were punished in school if you spoke Spanish. You were not allowed to speak it. People, I think, internalized this oppression about it, and basically wanted their kids to first be able to speak English. And I think that in my family, like a lot of other families, that the residue of that, the impact of that is that there are many folks whose Spanish is not that great.”

Not every person of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Ecuadorian or Colombian descent is fluent in the language. There is a steady decline in Spanish spoken among Latinos in the U.S. There is no blanket approach to the language. Some people speak it, others don’t and another population uses a variation of Spanglish. Throw in various dialects, and language alone is enough to see how diverse Latinos can be.

But let’s not forget Puerto Rican voting rights and their lack of federal representation in government. While Puerto Ricans can vote in the presidential primaries, they are not permitted to vote in general federal elections. Only Puerto Ricans living on the mainland can participate in the general election—even though the island is a part of the U.S. and is affected by the elected policymakers. Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro are the only two candidates who have made Puerto Rican rights a part of their policy platforms. Castro even made Puerto Rico the first stop on his presidential campaign. They might not speak Spanish but their actions show they have been fighting for those who do.

Presidential hopefuls beware: Latinos do not think the same way, and their voting record reflects this. The people who watch El Gordo y La Flaca are not the same ones described in the 2019 CNN article “The future of the American economy is Hispanic and female.”

The Latino vote can be a deciding factor in the 2020 race. However, just like any other voting bloc, different strategies and campaign tactics are required to reach this group. Latino voters will not support someone for something as basic as speaking Spanish, and it would be a mistake to assume the group is automatically won by the Democratic Party. The path to victory begins by admitting the road to mobilizing this demographic won’t be easy. 

READ: Republicans Have Made Voting In This Majority Latino Town In Kansas Nearly Impossible

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