Bernardette Pinetta remembers the first time she learned about the power of voting. One year she accompanied her mother to a small church in their Los Angeles community. The young Bernardette saw that many people leaving the church sported a sticker with a simple message: “I voted.”
Pinetta wanted a sticker of her own, but her mother said the only way she could get one was when she voted. At that moment Pinetta learned that voting was a badge to be earned and taken very seriously.
Now in her third year at UCLA, Pinetta is looking forward to filling out her first ballot on November 8. And she’s urging other young Latinos to also act, participate, and vote.
“We have the responsibility to make change as U.S. citizens,” she said Thursday in a presentation at the Community College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. “It’s very important that we get out our vote, and that politicians know that we have a voice and they must listen to our demands. It is up to us.”
At NCLR we’ve now made registering to vote easier than ever, putting the power of the vote literally in your hands. We’ve partnered with mitú to launch Latinos Vote, a voter registration website and mobile app available on the App Store and Google Play.
The app walks you through the registration process with information specific to your state’s requirements. After a few simple swipes, you can print and mail your completed application.
The NCLR-mitú partnership also includes content creation, distribution, events, and get-out-the-vote efforts leading up to the November elections.
This is part of our wider nonpartisan work to get more Latinos involved in the political process. We want all who are eligible to become citizens, for all citizens to become voters, and the community overall to engage with the issues that affect us.
“Latinos are playing an increasingly pivotal role in our nation’s civic life,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.
“More than 10 million Latino U.S. citizens are eligible to register nationwide, and nearly a million more are turning 18 every year.”
“Latino youth have the potential to make a huge impact in the 2016 elections,” she added. “But it all starts with getting registered to vote.”
“We know we can make a difference,” said Martha E. Flores, mitú’s Chief Editorial Officer. “But it’s not going to happen unless everyone is registered to vote. And voters must be engaged today, tomorrow, and on November 8.”
As some voices in the political climate seek to demonize our community, it is important that eligible Latinos make their vote count for the issues that matter to them.
“It’s our job to be informed on the platforms and the candidates who are running for office,” Pinetta said.
“When we vote we are taking responsibility for the changes we want to see made. And only with our voice and our vote will these changes occur.”