Much has been said about the Latino vote having no significant effect on this midterm election. While Hispanics will not be as relevant in the national political landscape as they were in 2014, their influence will be impossible to ignore.
In reality, Latino voters across the country have the future of several candidates and propositions in their hands.
The perception of the Latino vote’s supposed irrelevance in this election comes from the certainty that Republicans are going to take control of the House of Representatives, and that most Senate seats in question correspond to states where there is a proportionally small Hispanic population. The result: a Republican campaign that has ignored Latino voters and their needs and has been geared almost exclusively toward the white male vote.
Latinos will not change the fate of Congress because of geography, either because of Congressional district gerrymandering, or because there is not a significant number of Latinos in some states. Still, their vote will be crucial to deciding, for instance, who will occupy the vacant U.S. Senate seat in Colorado. Also, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO,) the Latino Caucus in the House will go up from 28 members to 34.
The Latino electoral power is generally based on having a significant number of people voting on close elections and being able to tilt the scale. That is the case of the Florida governor race: Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, among other Latinos, will elect the winner.
NALEO also has high expectations for 13 additional state legislators. They may become part of the growing political force representing the changing demographics of districts all over the U.S.
Make no mistake: Latino voters are still the protagonists in this election.
In New York, Latinos have the opportunity to make their voice heard in the races for Governor, Attorney General and State Comptroller.
Also on the ballot are propositions on how legislative and congressional district lines are drawn, and the Smart Schools Bond Act.
The power of the Latino vote begins with each of us, with our will to cast our ballot and make ourselves heard so that others don’t decide for us