Press Releases

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Latina vote remains strong in the face of suppression - Mix of progressive gains and losses proves no constituency can be taken for granted

Press Release
Washington
Loretta Kane (lk@caminopr.org or 917-410-7242) or Miguel Ortega (miguel@caminopr.com or 520-624-7288)

WASHINGTON, DC — National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) Executive Director Jessica González-Rojas issued the following statement on yesterday’s election results:

“Yesterday’s results are a mix of wins, losses, and important lessons. The most important lesson being that every vote matters, and that no community or constituency should be taken for granted. While in several arenas conservative politicians have gained or retained power, many only did so after moderating positions on key issues — including reproductive rights — in order to appeal to a broader voter base. Moreover, progressive issues on the ballot enjoyed broad victories, even while progressive candidates faltered.

“Those looking to read the United States' political future in voting patterns would do well to pay close attention to women of color, who drive the gender gap and play an outsized role in the votes of youth and communities of color. And women of color continue to support candidates who support access to healthcare, basic rights — like the right to vote and the right to safe, legal abortion, LGBTQ equality, a living wage, and fair immigration policies.

“We are pleased to celebrate some key victories for reproductive justice and Latina representation:

“In Colorado, an extreme ‘personhood’ ballot measure was resoundingly defeated — again. North Dakota defeated a similar measure. Both of these important and hard-won victories for women and families are a reminder that when voters see the real story, they reject politicians meddling in our personal decisions.

“In Rhode Island, we celebrate the victory of Nellie Gorbea, who rallied to win her race for secretary of state and become the first Latino/a elected to statewide office. In Texas, while Wendy Davis and her Latina running mate Leticia Van de Putte lost their bid for office, Latino/a voters overwhelmingly supported the pro-choice team, demonstrating that Latino/a voters are ready for change in the Lone Star State.

"Finally, while Latino voters made up only 8 percent of 2014 voters nationwide, compared to 10 percent in 2012, this is actually a modest 1 percent increase from the last midterm election, when they were 7 percent of voters, according to Pew Research Center's Hispanic Trends Project.

“We are deeply concerned about the anti-woman, anti-immigrant conservative majorities that now hold power in both houses of the United States Congress, even though they represent the views of dwindling numbers of Americans. To prevent our nation from moving dangerously backward, we will be relying on our brave champions in the Senate, and most of all on President Obama, to turn back and stop in its tracks any legislation that attacks our communities and denies our basic rights. We must and will be vigilant. The president must be prepared to use his veto authority to prevent the further erosion of our human rights.

“We must also recognize the ongoing harms of thinly veiled voter suppression trends, such as stringent new voter ID laws in places like Texas and North Carolina, which pose a grave threat to our democracy. Restrictive voting laws and barriers fall hardest on women, low-income people, transgender people, and the elderly and disabled voters. Modern-day voter suppression is a shameful and disturbing trend silencing communities and undermining our nation’s values, and we must continue to fight back.

“We at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health are proud to have knocked on doors, distributed bilingual voter education materials, and helped to turn out voters in Virginia, Texas, and Florida — states where the power of the Latina vote is growing every day. But our work in these communities is by no means limited to election season. We were there before, and we’ll continue organizing and mobilizing long after Election Day.

“As we look to 2016 and beyond, it is imperative that we engage, educate, and mobilize voters in greater numbers than ever before, regardless of the obstacles. At the same time, we must demand that policymakers who seek our votes fight for our values — whether or not it’s an election year.”

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The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 26 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.