Sunday, April 21, 2024

UnidosUS launches campaign to register young Latino voters

UnidosUS, the Latino advocacy group that changed its name in part to be more relevant to millennials, is honing its efforts to register young Latinos during this year’s midterm elections.

“While this has been a historically challenging time for our community, we are far from powerless. A new generation of voters are reminding us that we hold the power within us to make the change we want and it starts by registering to vote,” said Janet Murgia, UnidosUS president.

Murgia announced the group’s launch of its “Power of 18” campaign yesterday in a luncheon held in D.C despite the snowy conditions that shut down government offices and schools. There is hope for expansion of voters and turnout by Latinos because it is a young population; an estimated 880,000 U.S. citizen children who are Latino turn 18 every year and that number is expected to rocket to more than 1 million a year by 2024.

But significantly increasing the influence of Latinos is an uphill and costly climb. Just 40.3 percent of millennial Latinos say they voted in the 2016 elections, a lower share than African American, 49.4, white, 52.8 and Asian millennials, 43.4, according to the Pew Research Center.

UnidosUS is not the first to make a push into capturing young Latino voters. Actress Rosario Dawson co-founded Voto Latino in 2004. Initially an MTV media campaign, Maria Teresa Kumar, founding president and CEO, joined Dawson and Voto Latino.

As more and more Latinos have reached 18, they have sparked a new activism in the Latino community, much of it centered around the push for immigration reform, but also spilling into campaigns on other issues.

“We have witnessed over the last several months the courage, leadership and tenacity of our young people who have galvanized in an effort to challenge our national leaders on a number of critical issues from DACA to gun control to laws around gender equality and so much more,” Murguía said.