After reading 3 Things to Know ahead of Guatemala’s Presidential Runoff by Paola Nagovitch, I wondered if there was any similarity between voter turnout in Guatemala and the Latinx community of the United States. It could be said that there may very well be a significant similarity.
It is not uncommon to experience push back against spending time, energy, and money in an attempt to sincerely engage with the Latinx community of voters in the US. The Latinx communities, diverse in age, culture, native language, and other demographic characteristics, have become even more complex as to how to engage with them on social issues, political campaigns, and voter turnout. However, the complexity does not warrant disregarding a sincere outreach for the sake of saving time, energy, and money.
I have yet to experience a genuine effort by an organization or campaign to engage with my Latinx community. Expecting a sincere engagement by speaking two to three sentences in Spanish does not foster a supportive relationship with Latinxs.
Latinxs doubled their voting participation in the 2018 midterm election compared to 2014, nearing presidential election year levels. Still, not all eligible voters actually showed up at the polls. The Pew Research Centercites 29M Latinx eligible voters in 2018, and of those, a mere 11.7 million voted. Low enthusiasm among Latinx eligible voters is not only a reality in the US as report in Guatemala, it is a common trait among Latin American countries. One of the reasons for low voter turnout is the perspective that candidates are not “adecuados.” That is, candidates do not make a sincere effort to adequately engage with voters to foster a relationship that would give us sufficient experience to vote with confidence.
Latinxs must organize and insist that organizations, campaigns, and political parties, make a genuine effort to engage with us on the issues we prioritize, however complex these may be. Take the time, create the energy, and spend the money to foster a mutually beneficial relationship. The Latinx vote depends on it.
*Interesting Statistics from the Guatemalan Presidential Runoff
Registered Voters: 8,150,221 or 46% of population
Votes Cast: 3,291,701 or ~ 19% of population
©️ Teresa Carbajal Ravet, 2019