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mitú went to Kansas City for NCLR’s Annual Conference — THE largest conference of Latino leaders and advocates — to kick-off our #weareAmerica campaign. We got to talk to guys and girls just like you about what it means to be a Latino in the U.S. — the answers were life-changing.

Over the next few months, mitú will continue to collect and share your stories in order to create a true portrait of what is important, like get-your-ass-off-the-couch-and-to-a-voting-booth-important, as we head into the 2016 elections.

You have a voice. We have the platform. Don’t be shy and share your answers to these questions in the comments below or on your social media using #weareAmerica:

1. What does it mean to you to be a Latino in the US?

2. What can the next president do that would have significantly impact your life?

3. How does technology keep you connected to family and your culture?

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Puerto Rico’s Gubernatorial Race Is Neck-And-Neck With Many Ballots Still Uncounted

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Puerto Rico’s Gubernatorial Race Is Neck-And-Neck With Many Ballots Still Uncounted

More than one year after former Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was ousted after a Telegram scandal, the people of the Caribbean archipelago have voted for a new leader – but ballots in the crowded election are still being counted.

Puerto Rico’s gubernatorial race looks similar to the U.S. presidential election: two leading male candidates neck-and-neck.

Unlike President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, however, the leading Puerto Rican contenders, Pedro Pierluisi and Carlos Delgado Altieri, are both Democrats. What drastically separates the two candidates are their local political parties: Pierluisi is the nominee of the New Progressive Party (PNP), which advocates for statehood, and Delgado Altieri is the pick of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which wants to continue as a commonwealth of the United States with limited self-government.

With 95% of polling stations reporting, the latest numbers put Pierluisi, at 32.4%, ahead of Delgado Altieri, who has 31.4% of the votes.

While ballots are still being counted, Pierluisi, an attorney and lobbyist, declared himself a winner on Tuesday night during a victory party.

Delgado Altieri, the former mayor of the northwestern municipality of Isabela and current president of the PPD, called the declaration “irresponsible” and noted that all the votes need to be tallied. If their difference reaches less than half a percentage point, there would be an automatic recount, Bloomberg reports.

Overall, Puerto Rican candidates faced a dwindling voter base. According to U.S. News & World Report, eligible voters dropped from 2.87 million in 2016 to 2.36 million in 2020, largely due to emigration following multiple economic and climate crises. Even more, with a voter turnout of 51.32%, compared to 55% in 2016, voter participation is also down, likely due to a distrust in Puerto Rican government amid back-to-back political scandals. 

Regardless of which candidate wins, the election is a historic one.

It’s the first time in recent history that either of Puerto Rico’s two main parties failed to secure more than 40% of the overall vote. Puerto Ricans, largely young voters who grew up amid a financial crisis that has since been compounded by the disastrous Hurricane María as well as recent earthquakes, have found themselves disillusioned by both the PNP and PPD parties and have voted in significant numbers for pro-independence and new party candidates. Alexandra Lugaro of the Citizens’ Victory Movement and Juan Dalmau of the Puerto Rico Independence Party have received 15% and 14% of the vote, respectively. It’s the first time since the 1950s that pro-independence parties have reached double-digit support.

Puerto Rico-based journalist and political analyst Jonathan Lebron-Ayala told NPR that rebuilding a decimated Puerto Rico has motivated many young islanders to think outside of the archipelago’s two-party system. “We’re going to see a major change not in this election but maybe into 2024 or 2028 because the numbers in the general demographics with these two old parties are very, very weak,” Lebron-Ayala said. 

In addition to the general election on Tuesday, Puerto Rican voters were also presented with a nonbinding referendum that asked, “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the union as a state?”

While more than 52% said yes, it must be noted that many Puerto Ricans, understanding that the referendum holds no weight, skip the question altogether. U.S. Congress would have to approve of any changes to Puerto Rico’s political status.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico cannot vote in the presidential election and does not have voting representation in the U.S. Congress.

However, Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner, which is a non-voting congressional representative, won a second term on Tuesday night. The pro-Trump, pro-statehood González is a long-time supporter of Pierluisi. 

Pierluisi, who formerly held the resident commissioner seat, briefly served as governor following Rosselló’s resignation last year. Rosselló, who is a member of the same party as Pierluisi, named the 2020 contender as the next governor without him being confirmed by both the House and the Senate as secretary of state. Pierluisi took office on August 2, 2019, but was removed days later on August 7 after the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled that Pierluisi was sworn in on unconstitutional grounds. 

The unelected Wanda Vázquez Garced, a former secretary of justice who is also a member of the same PPD party, has served as governor since. In August, Vázquez lost the pro-statehood nomination to Pierluisi. 

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Trump Appears To Be Laying The Groundwork To Contest The Election With These 3 Alarming Statements

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Trump Appears To Be Laying The Groundwork To Contest The Election With These 3 Alarming Statements

Samuel Corum / Getty Images

With less than 100 days until the election, Trump is working hard to do something that no previous president has ever done before: falsely claim that an election was fixed against him in order to discredit the vote. Trump has repeatedly — and incorrectly — claimed the election will be “rigged” against him.

The president has promoted crazy conspiracy theories and outright lies to whip up his core supporters to wrongly believe he is the victim of some unknown, shadowy “deep state” plot. In an interview that aired last week, he refused to commit to accepting the results in November.

From increased vote-by-mail to widespread fraud (which is essentially a non-factor in U.S. elections), Trump is already working to dispute the results of the 2020 election. With less than 100 days to go, we are careening toward an extraordinarily dangerous crisis of American democracy.

Recently, Trump seems to be trying to case the legitimacy of the 2020 elections into doubt.

Voting rights experts and political strategists on both sides of the aisle are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential for a disputed presidential election in November, one in which one candidate openly questions the legitimacy of the results or even refuses to concede. These experts are keenly aware of President Donald Trump’s well-documented history of lying about voter fraud and claiming that elections were “rigged” when he doesn’t like the outcome. 

And if he’s literally building a case against the election, it became clearer that Trump is absolutely willing to dispute the results. During a recent Fox News interview, Trump refused to commit to accepting the outcome of the election. “I have to see,” Trump replied, “No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.”

Trump seems to be hinging his doubts on the increase of mail-in voting in the age of Coronavirus.

Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, more Americans than ever are expected to case mail-in ballots this year, so it will definitely take longer for the results to be announced. There’s no denying that. Even elections experts are now replacing “election night” with “election week,” because it could take days for a winner to be announced. In fact, both presidential campaigns have set aside millions of dollars and recruited lawyers for the looming legal fights.

So there is good reason to brace for chaos. One has to look no further than the recent primary season, which broke new ground for how elections are conducted. States dramatically scaled up vote-by-mail options, using spring and summer primaries as a “dry-run” for the November election. There were successes, like Kentucky, with its sprawling “supercenters” where people could safely vote in-person. But there were disasters too, like Wisconsin and Georgia, which were plagued by missing absentee ballots and grueling lines.

Meanwhile, Trump has been very open about his views on main-in voting: He has repeatedly said it threatens his reelection chances and would hurt Republicans across the board, even though nonpartisan experts say neither party typically gets an automatic boost from postal voting. To prevent these perceived losses, Trump pleaded with states to restrict mail-in voting by falsely claiming it is plagued by “massive fraud and abuse” and leads to “rigged elections.” His efforts have been unsuccessful. Officials implemented reforms from Republican-haven Utah to liberal Vermont.

Trump’s already calling the election “rigged.”

As Trump slides in the polls, he already declared that his matchup this fall against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden “will be the most rigged election in our nation’s history.”

Those are some serious accusations and, coming from a sitting president, do a lot to undermine American democracy and the integrity of our elections.

He’s also predicted massive fraud and suggested delaying the election.

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump tweeted, offering no evidence for a debunked assertion. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Trump has a long history of denouncing election results he doesn’t agree with.

For at least the past eight years, Donald Trump has a well-established past of questioning the legitimacy of elections, even though there was no proof of widespread irregularities or fraud in any of these elections.

In 2012, in the race against Obama, Trump supported Mitt Romney and when Romney lost the election, Trump denounced the results as a “total sham” and tweeted, “We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty.”

Then during the first contest of the 2016 primary season, Trump lost Iowa to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Trump responded by saying “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it,” and accused Cruz of committing “fraud.” Trump called for a new election, said Cruz’s results should be “nullified” and said “the State of Iowa should disqualify” Cruz.

That same year, the won Trump actually won the presidency, Trump infamously refused to commit that he would accept the results. Instead, he said, “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.” Even after Trump won, he falsely claimed there were millions of illegal votes in California and other states, creating a false narrative to explain why he lost the popular vote to Clinton.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com