Mobilization Effort in Texas Encourages Young Latinos to Vote

Public News Service

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas group cultivating Latino voters under age 35 has ramped up its grassroots efforts to get them registered and out to vote in the November election.

Antonio Arellano is interim executive director for Jolt, a group dedicated to increasing voter participation and defending democracy.

He believes young Latinos have been “dehumanized,” as the state undergoes a shift that threatens the status quo.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the Hispanic population in Texas could surpass its white population as soon as 2021. Arellano thinks it’s contributing to voter suppression in Texas.

“Voter intimidation is at an all-time high,” Arellano said. “And our Latino community has been targeted and terrorized for the past four years while this administration has been in power.”

Despite the pandemic, a record number of Texans registered to vote in this year’s primary runoff election, about 2.4 million more than four years ago.

But Texas also led the southern states last year in closing the most polling stations, making it more difficult for people to vote.

To reach younger voters, Jolt is emphasizing digital outreach with mass text messaging to peers, virtual volunteer hours on Zoom, and a new website that helps people register to vote almost entirely online.

Arellano said coronavirus pandemic disparities among minority populations have made younger Latinos acutely aware that health-care access is a critical factor.

“Young Latinos are literally watching their grandparents, their parents and their loved ones die due to the lack access to affordable health care,” Arellano said. “And they’re going to demand justice at the ballot box, more now than ever before, due to COVID-19.”

Even before the pandemic, Texas had the highest rate and largest number of people without health insurance in the country.

In addition to health care, Arellano said immigration reform is a major concern. One in every three Texans is an immigrant or a child of immigrants.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

The EPA’s soot pollution update falls dangerously short for Latinos

Victor Landa March 12, 2023

On Jan. 6, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposal to strengthen the annual standards for fine particulate matter, commonly known as soot, from 12 ug/m3 to between 9 and 10 […]

Opinion: In Hollywood, Latinos are still waiting for their close-up

Victor Landa

Carolyn Curiel served as a U.S. ambassador and White House senior speechwriter in the Clinton administration. Latinos will be an integral part of the Academy Awards on Sunday. You likely […]

Republicans are winning more Latino votes. But rising turnout still benefits Dems.

Victor Landa

The red wave never came to pass in 2022 — but there was a noticeable shift among Latino voters in the midterms, who still tilted toward Democrats overall but reached […]

Latino Republicans push back on party’s immigration agenda

Victor Landa March 15, 2023

MIAMI (AP) — More than half of the residents in the slice of Miami that includes Little Havana were born abroad. And when Republican U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar ran […]

Latino families face tough circumstances with ballooning college debt

Victor Landa

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on palabra, the digital news site by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. By Rich Tenorio Iliana Panameño wanted to get a master’s degree in social […]

Young Latino leaders unlikely to see Jews as targets of systemic discrimination, says poll

Victor Landa March 20, 2023

Latino millennial and Gen-Z thought leaders are increasingly unlikely to see Jews as the target of systemic discrimination, according to a new survey commissioned by the American Jewish Committee (AJC). […]

Racial equity news coverage of Latinos is lacking, a new study finds

Victor Landa

Latinos are barely part of the conversation in newspapers and online media outlets covering the issue of racial equity and racism, a new study has found. Only about 6% of […]