Launch of a non-partisan voting campaign in Laredo


The “Yes, I will vote” campaign was launched at a luncheon for local businesses and organizations and was held on Tuesday in an administrative building of the IBC, hosted by the Laredo Commission for Women.

Guests from different fields such as healthcare, education, and business and non-profit organizations were on hand to discuss Laredo voters and the act of registering and voting. The non-partisan campaign also planned to discuss several methods of how participants can register most of their membership and vote in the next election.

According to Sylvia Palumbo, President of the LCW, the turnout was higher than expected and the commission was very grateful. She said the ‘Yes, I will vote’ campaign is still not over and will continue to hold lunches and other sessions to involve more people and organizations, all to get more people to the polls. .

In order to help businesses and organizations, all LCW members are Voter Registrars and have stated that they would be willing to visit any site to register employees to vote.

Lydia Camarillo, President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, was the keynote speaker for the lunch and discussed the importance of the Hispanic vote and how the 2020 election will be the most important election in America.

SVREP was started in 1974 by Willie Velazquez in San Antonio to register all eligible voters and ensure they vote. It would also help by training organizers and candidates to run for office while blocking any attempts to dilute the Latin vote.

“The idea was to make sure that Texas empowers Latinos and other ethnic and colored communities and allows us to elect top candidates and hold those candidates accountable so that they stand up for our interests,” Camarillo said.

Camarillo said this year Texas could be America’s most competitive state with 38 electoral votes. She said the Southwestern and Latino electorate will decide who will be in the White House in 2021.

Despite the estimated influence on the election, the Latin American population showed lower voter turnout. One possibility given was the fear that may have gripped the Hispanic community regardless of immigration status.

“I have never seen the kind of fear that exists in the current climate, not only because they fear being deported or because there is a wall that is placed at our borders but because we have massacres, like the one in El Paso, so they’re very worried, ”Camarillo said.

In a previous article, the LCW reported that of the 130,956 registered voters in Laredo, only 50,208 voted in the previous election. Members hope to get 40,000 voters to the polls in March and 70,000 in November.

“It’s up to us to make sure we register the electorate,” Camarillo said. “It’s up to us to get these voters out. And I agree, it doesn’t matter who you vote for. Just come and vote.

SVREP is poised to register 100,000 new voters in areas such as Harris County, Webb County, San Antonio and more.

Representatives were asked to think about how many voters can be registered at their workplace, how they can engage them during the election, and educate voters on partisan choices. According to Camarillo, if a person who has never voted had to vote only twice, they would vote in every election from that point on.

“Your vote is your voice,” Camarillo said.

Victoria Sandoval, coordinator of Move Texas Field, said that in 2019, the organization registered around 30,000 voters and had them sign a pledge card to vote. The pledge allows the organization to contact the voter three times, once during early voting, on the last day of early voting and on election day.

The organization also provides information through direct communication with volunteers and organizers. They also meet with voters and register them where they are.

For example, Sandoval said voter registration booths are set up on college campuses and at community events. They also provide information on the voting, pre-registration and post-registration process.

“I think these face to face interactions with people change their perception of civic life,” Sandoval said. “They think it’s difficult to go and vote. They think it’s hard to sign up, but when we clarify these things it makes things a lot easier and it makes us a more unified community.

According to the U.S. Census, as of July 2014, the Hispanic population was 55 million and by 2060 that number will be approximately 119 million. Sylvia Bruni, president of the LCW, said the commission started work on voter education 10 years ago and prioritized the “Yes, I will vote” campaign.

The commission approached numerous organizations across Laredo to increase the number of voters in Laredo using the membership count of each organization.

“I think we’ll find out that when everyone participates in our democracy, that’s when it works best,” Sandoval said.

Veronica Castillon, executive director of communications for LISD, said the district has been involved in the campaign and is running voter registration campaigns at its high schools. This will be an opportunity to inform the students with the right to vote as well as the members of the staff who register.

For potential young voters, assemblies are organized in schools to inform them of the importance of voting. LISD is also relaunching its 4,000 employees on early voting and mobile voting sites.

Castillon also said that in Texas, high school principals must offer students the option of registering to vote if they are 18 or turn 18 that year.

READ MORE: Supporters rally as positions on Laredo’s primary ballot determined

Over lunch, Mayor Pete Saenz, Council Member Nelly Vielma and Council Member Alberto Torres Jr. announced a proclamation declaring that January 7 will now be the day of the “Yes, I Will Vote” campaign in Laredo.


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