Take Action and Vote

In a 1944 radio address to our great country, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously extolled, "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting."

Seventy years later, this fundamental truth has not changed. While it is true that across the nation there are those working night and day to roll back voting rights and erect obstacles to voting, ultimately we are in control of our own destiny. We can push back by voting. In fact, in 2014, we know better than ever before that our voice is our vote. But in the Latino community, our voice has historically been far too quiet. From the courts imposing strict and prohibitive voter ID laws, to organizations and politicians largely ignoring our community in Get Out The Vote efforts, we've been left on the sidelines. In 2010, only 8 percent of the 8.25 million ballots cast were from Latinos. This lack of turnout has created a cycle of extreme disappointment in the policies and actions we've witnessed and experienced in recent years. We can't let it continue. We must raise our voice and we must vote. And in 2014, that's more important than ever.

As Vice President Biden said from the stage of our Latino Victory rally for Lucy Flores, "The power of the Latino community this year and in the future just increases exponentially. But no one will pay attention if you do not vote." The Vice President is right, and we are poised to make history.

Thanks to an unprecedented effort from grassroots groups across the country, we had an incredibly successful Hispanic Heritage Month of Action where we registered more Latinos than ever before. In fact, more than 7.8 million Latinos are projected to vote this year. That's a 17.8 percent increase from four years ago.

On top of this, there are more Latinos on the ballot that could be elected statewide. It's shocking and disheartening to realize that we only have eight Latinos in statewide elected positions across the country. But our power is growing. This year alone there are 16 Latinos running for statewide offices.

With more registered Hispanic voters and an increased awareness of who is running to represent our community, we are going to make significant progress this year. While it's clear that more needs to be more done to recruit, fund and vote for Latino candidates, we are moving in the right direction.

Between our newly registered voters, our high expectations for turnout in 2014, and the possibility that if we elected all the Latinos running this year we could triple our statewide representation, nothing seems out of reach for our community in the future. If we continue the efforts we've seen up until the midterm elections, we're on track for an all-time high turnout in 2016. But we have to work together and vote. Together we will pave the road to the White House and the first Latina or Latino president.