Op-Ed: Democracy is at a Crossroads and Latinos are Showing Up

It is no secret that Texas has a long history of low voter turnout, and voter suppression tactics that have long kept many marginalized communities, particularly Latinos, from participating in civic engagement.

The 2016 election was a wakeup call for all of us. We are experiencing what happens when democracy is taken for granted, and Latinos understand that we are fighting for the heart and soul of our nation. Without their involvement, in what is the most important election of our lifetime, we can’t bring about the change that our state desperately needs.

Let’s be honest, when you are not on the table, you are not on the menu – and the opposition understands that all too well.

There are folks in our society who are actively and strategically funding efforts to suppress and discourage Latino eligible voters with misinformation. They are intentional about their tactics because they are afraid of our power as a community.

Through the leadership of non-profit grassroots political organizations like Voto Latino, we can combat misinformation and encourage active, healthy participation in our democracy.

This cycle alone, Voto Latino registered more than 600,000 new voters bringing their organizational totals over 1,000,000 since embarking on their work more than 15 years ago.

Texas literally broke every record for early voting, and the Latino community was critical to this. New data from TargetSmart provided exclusively to Voto Latino shows that 1.74 million Latino voters already cast their ballot for 2020 – up 75% from 2016.

I am proud that more than 190,000 El Pasoans voted early as well. But our job is not done yet. Latinos are critical to the outcome of this election and voting is the easiest way to make our collectives voices heard. Because we are not just voting for civility and decency  education, equality, healthcare, climate change, and other key topics are also on the ballot.

With this I ask, please make a plan, vote, and encourage friends and family to do the same. Together we can bring change to Texas.

By Rep. Mary González | House District 75

González was elected State Representative for House District 75—an area that includes east El Paso County, the fastest growing parts of the city of El Paso and the towns of San Elizario, Socorro, Clint, Fabens, and Tornillo. Mary was raised in Clint, Texas and graduated from Clint High School. She is currently serving her fourth term at the Texas House of Representatives.

Mary serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Public Education Committee, and is Vice Chair of the Local & Consent Calendars Committee in the Texas House. Throughout her time as a State Representative, she has authored numerous bills to improve public schools, increase economic development, and support agriculture in House District 75 and throughout the state. She is currently serving her second term as Vice Chair for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, a second term as Secretary of the House Border Caucus, and the Chair of the new Texas House LGBTQ Caucus.


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