The Latino voter bloc flexed its political muscle in the 2008 and 2012 elections, but seems to still be an enigma to the presumed Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. With this in mind, The Huffington Post’s Latino Voices partnered with Twitter to launch the first installment of their #ElectionVoices series ― an interactive conversation about what really matters to voters this election and beyond.
The event, which took place Thursday at Twitter’s New York offices, kicked off with an insightful fireside chat between award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa and Maria Teresa Kumar, the CEO and president of Voto Latino. HuffPost congressional reporter Laura Barron-Lopez moderated an engaging panel discussion that followed between Hinojosa and four other Latino social media influencers: Daniel Leon-Davis; Maria Urbina, Voto Latino’s VP of politics and national campaigns; Israel Ortega, a political commentator and senior writer for Opportunity Live; and immigrant rights activist Juan Escalante.
We asked the panel members and the good people of Twitter to weigh in on issues that matter to them most, how best to engage Latino voters, and the role social media will play in this election cycle.
Here’s what they had to say:
On Latino Voters:
Barron-Lopez asked panelists to describe Latino voters, to which they and Twitter users responded:
On issues that matter to Latinos:
Panelist Daniel Leon-Davis explained, “[Latinos are] becoming so intersectional with our issues.” Many people on the panel and on Twitter agreed.
On increasing civic engagement and voter registration:
A January report from Pew projected that a record 27.3 million Latinos will be eligible to vote this year. However, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials predicts only 13.1 million will vote nationwide in 2016.Throughout the event, panelists discussed what can be done to help Latinos become more civically engaged.
On Latinos harnessing the power of social media:
In addition to being hosted at Twitter’s offices, the event was livestreamed via Periscope ― both tools, Leon-Davis explained, that Latinos use to tell their own stories and “democratize media.”
Panelists and Twitter users chimed in to explain how the power of social media and technology can be harnessed to further amplify Latinos’ voices and increase civic engagement.
Keep the conversation going. Watch a clip of #ElectionVoices above, and join in on Twitter to let us know what you think candidates should know about Latino voters this election cycle and beyond.