With polls open today across the country, Latinos have a vote. More importantly, Latinos have a voice. A voice that could reshape the future of our country.
In the past several days, we have heard extensive rhetoric about what is important to Americans. The divisiveness is pervasive. The pundits and the press have had a field day trying to analyze, assess and evaluate the many focus groups and polls that could give any of us any clue as to the outcome of what is clearly, at best, an unsavory political campaign.
On Sunday, NALEO Educational Fund released a poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo and Latino Decisions. In it, we found that half of Latino voters have already cast ballots prior to Election Day and that 76 percent of registered Latino voters would choose Hillary Clinton if the presidential elections were held that day. But our poll results mean nothing if Latinos do not continue to turn out to vote. The 27.3 million eligible Latino voters, who represent the changing face of America, will once again play a crucial role in electing the next President of the United States, but only if we make their voices heard. Here at NALEO Educational Fund, we expect at least 13.1 million Latinos to cast ballots this year. This is only the floor. We know our community can turn out in even greater records and shatter this historic record on Election Day.
For decades, Latino networks, organizations and supporters have done their part in empowering Latinos to vote --educating and supporting them every step of the way. This year, our partners at Telemundo launched the #YoDecido campaign, a one-of-a-kind effort to inform and empower Hispanic voters across the nation and that certainly fueled Latino voter interest and participation. Enthusiasm is definitely higher than in years past. According to that same poll, 56 percent of Latino voters said they are "more enthusiastic" about voting in 2016 than in 2012. We are engaged. We are listening. We are hopeful. And that might seem optimistic given that our poll also revealed that 67 percent of Latino voters do not trust Donald Trump and 50 percent do not trust Hillary Clinton. And yet, there is still a choice to be made.
Organizations like NALEO Educational Fund and Telemundo have pulled out all the stops to ensure that voters have the information they need on the issues that will impact their future. We have done what we can to help guide them through the registration and voting process. Telemundo alone devoted more than 275 hours to the electoral cycle, providing their viewers the opportunity to see how and why their participation could make a difference, opening their eyes to the political process, giving them the tools they need to understand how to be part of that process and creating a conversation about how we control what's next.
NALEO Educational Fund and Telemundo partnered with other national organizations including Voto Latino and Mi Familia Vota for this year's Hispanic Heritage Month of Action (HHMA), a national voter registration campaign, and Telemundo joined NCLR on a national Latino Voter Summit and a PSA urging Latinos to become voters and giving them tools to do so. The network also collaborated with TurboVote for a voter registration tool, making getting registered easy.
Colleges and universities like Miami Dade College and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism have also played a huge part in engaging Latino millennials to help them rebuild the way they view their role in the election and empower them to embrace their opinion and make it known across the world.
All of these initiatives, and so many others over the years, have given us momentum into 2016. As Latinos head to the polls today, we will be in the driver's seat, looking forward, taking control of our lives and the lives of our families. Leading up to Election Day, so many amazing, influential organizations came together to raise awareness and to educate, empower, support and cheer for the Hispanic community - we have been unified. In the end, it is not about organizations or ground operations or town halls or messaging. It is about the voter. Each of us has one vote, the moment is here to make it count!