Report: Latino Vote Will Be Key in NY Democratic Primaries

Dreamers from Make the Road Action at an event with Cynthia Nixon. (Photo from Make the Road Action via El Diario)

Just one week before the New York State primaries, a new report revealed that one-sixth of the electorate is Latino and that this group’s participation will be crucial for Hispanic candidates.

According to the document, entitled “A Vital Sixth: Latino Voters in New York’s Democratic Primaries,” published by Make the Road Action, (…) over a million Latinos are registered as Democrats, making up more than 17 percent of the party’s electorate.

The organizations explained that, in 17 State Senate districts and seven electoral districts, the proportion of Democratic voters is higher than the state average. (…)

“Next week’s election will be a wake-up call for those whose political strategy book consists simply of using negative words against the Latino community and not fully supporting our priorities, which include issuing driver’s licenses for all, the New York DREAM Act, strengthening rent laws and ending the school-to-prison pipeline,” explained Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road Action.

Although registration campaigns aimed at Latino voters were streamlined in 2015 when then-Republican candidate Donald Trump announced his campaign, (…) it was not until his November 2016 victory that the political mobilization of Latino voters took on new importance.

According to the report, Latino participation is on the rise, from 9 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2012 to 11 percent in 2016. Likewise, the census suggests that, at the national level, Latino participation went from 7 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2012 and 9 percent in 2016. The number of Latino voters grew 4 million between 2012 and 2016, reaching 27.3 million eligible voters, the largest increase for any demographic group.

(…) “We have the freedom to vote and protest, and elected officials need to hear us,” said Christina Camacho, member of Make the Road Action. “I am particularly excited about the truly progressive candidates running now, because they have demonstrated that they are closer to the community and our needs.”

The report also states that 86 percent of Latinos interviewed in 2018 were said to be “very angry” about the zero tolerance policy that prompted the separation of immigrant minors from their parents at the Mexican border.

Pedro and Giaconda Pazmino became U.S. citizens this year and were excited about exercising their right to vote for the first time.

“In this era of discrimination and inequality, we immigrants need to support other immigrants. We want respect,” they said.

The spike is not only evident among Latino voters but also among Latino leaders, who have decided to take the complaints and clamors of their community in their own hands (…)

The 2018 election is proof of the existence of a movement that went from having three districts with Latino candidates to seven, a trend that has caught national attention thanks to such candidates as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jessica Ramos and Julia Salazar, among others.


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