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Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) joined by House leadership, partners and advocates to address voting rights issues

members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional leaders met with advocates to discuss legislative solutions for voting rights issues ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. Topics in today’s policy roundtable included voter registration and ballot access; voter education and language accessibility; voter I.D. laws, roll purging, and precinct closures; as well as mis/disinformation.

Since the 2020 election, 19 states have enacted restrictive voting laws that hurt Americans’ access to the ballot box. States like Florida and Texas have passed laws restricting drop boxes, adding new requirements for mail-in ballots, and limiting polling hours—all restrictions that can weigh heavily on Hispanic voters and prevent them from exercising their fundamental right to vote.

CHC Members and partners that joined included:

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
  • Majority Whip James E. Clyburn
  • Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark
  • Vice Chair Pete Aguilar
  • Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler
  • CHC Chair Raul Ruiz, M.D.
  • CHC Deputy Chair Nanette Díaz Barragán
  • CHC Vice Chair of Policy Darren Soto
  • CHC Vice Chair of Member Engagement Tony Cárdenas
  • CHC Vice Chair of Communications Teresa Leger Fernández
  • Rep. Ruben Gallego
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

Advocates in attendance included:

  • Roberta Braga, Equis Labs
  • Lizet Ocampo, Voto Latino
  • Hector Sanchez Barba, Mi Familia Vota
  • Laura Esquivel, Hispanic Federation
  • Rosalind Gold, NALEO
  • Andrea Senteno, MALDEF
  • Marcos Vilar, Alianza Center
  • Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas, USLA Latino Policy & Politics Institute
  • David Garcia, GALEO
  • Kristen Bokenkamp, Global Project Against Hate & Extremism
  • Diego Groisman, Cybersecurity for Democracy
  • Yosef Getachew, Common Cause
  • Martin Riedl, Univ. of TX Propaganda Research Lab

“It was a pleasure to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in welcoming so many devoted advocates to the United States Capitol. Across the country, MAGA Republicans are waging a sinister assault on the right to vote – with Latino communities squarely in their crosshairs. Fueled by the passion and tireless mobilization of grassroots activists, House Democrats will never relent in our fight to ensure every American has a say in the destiny of our Democracy,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s roundtable on voting rights today. We had a meaningful discussion on how our House Majority can best continue to empower Latinos, who are a growing part of the electorate, to participate fully in our democracy. I want to thank Chairman Raul Ruiz, Vice Chair of Policy Darren Soto, and Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for keeping a strong focus on voting rights, including combatting Spanish-language disinformation ahead of the upcoming elections and ensuring access to the ballot box in states with voter-suppression laws. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them as House Democrats continue our efforts to protect Americans’ right to vote,” said Leader Steny Hoyer.

“Our nation is on the brink of repeating the imposition of voter suppression and nullification laws akin to America’s Jim Crow era,” said House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. “It is incumbent on communities of color to work together as we have before on issues like health care and affordable housing. I am proud of the work Chairman Raul Ruiz and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is doing to protect our democracy. I stand in solidarity with the CHC’s efforts to guarantee every American unfettered access to the ballot box,” said House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn.

“Our democracy is up against many challenges: disenfranchisement, disinformation, and discrimination. But there is hope – with the bold leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, House Democrats are putting people over politics and defending every American’s right to vote. We are working to shut down the MAGA extremist agenda that seeks to silence voters and build a future where it’s easy to vote and hard to buy elections. I’m grateful for the CHC Members who are leading our way,” said Assistant Speaker Clark.

The Republican party poses a direct threat to our nation’s voting rights,” said Vice Chair Rep. Aguilar. “This year alone, at least 34 bills with restrictive voting provisions are moving through eleven Republican-controlled legislatures. Republican lawmakers in 39 states are pushing nearly 400 bills that target Black and Brown communities. These are invaluable conversations for us as lawmakers who must understand the issues at hand from the people on the frontlines fighting for our communities.”

“I thank the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for inviting me to participate in this important roundtable during Hispanic Heritage Month about voting rights issues facing Latino communities and ways to protect and strengthen voting rights. The right to vote is the right that secures all other rights in our democracy. As Judiciary Committee chair, I have long championed legislation to protect voting rights in the face of disastrous Supreme Court decisions that have allowed states to engage in continued voter suppression efforts targeting minority communities, including H.R. 4, the “John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” a comprehensive bill to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full effectiveness. I look forward to continuing to work with my CHC colleagues and others to ensure that this and other measures are enacted into law,” said Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler.

“One of Congress’ most sacred duties is to protect every Americans’ right to vote. With an estimated 12 million eligible Hispanic voters, it is imperative that we ensure every single voice is heard,” said CHC Chair Dr. Ruiz. “On National Voter Registration Day, the CHC is honored to help lead this charge and develop policy solutions with leading advocates and Congressional leadership that will safeguard and strengthen our communities’ access to the ballot box.”

“There isn’t one simple solution on how we fix the issues that impact the voting rights of Latinos across the country. Our communities face an unprecedented level of dis- and misinformation, implicit and explicit voter intimidation, fear, and in many places intentional actions that make it harder for Latinos to vote in their communities compared to nearby communities. Chairman Ruiz and the CHC brought these experts and advocates here today so we could have a comprehensive, cross-country overview of the challenges Latinos face when it comes to registering to vote and casting their ballot. The next step is to take action on the stories and recommendations we heard here today and turn them into actual policies that protect Latino votes and voters,” said CHC Deputy Chair Nanette Barragán.

“As midterm elections approach, it is critical for the constitutional rights of all Americans to be protected. In particular, Latinos in this country have faced multiple challenges in the form of voter suppression, voter access issues, redistricting and gerrymandering, and more. At CHC, we are committed to working with stakeholders to ensure we reduce barriers and find ways to address these pressing issues. I am grateful for today’s fruitful discussion and look forward to working with my colleagues to advance legislation that will help our communities express themselves at the polls,” said CHC Vice Chair of Policy Darren Soto.

“My parents took the right to vote seriously. Even though English was her second language, my mom found a way to do her civic duty — she brought one of her 11 kids to translate. When I went with her, I learned how important voting was and got a clear look at the barriers she faced. Today I was proud to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in a Hispanic/Latino voting rights policy roundtable to discuss issues affecting voters in our communities and identify legislative solutions,” said CHC Vice Chair of Member Engagement Tony Cárdenas.

“Latinos are essential to our democratic future. Latino communities are voting in greater numbers, and we need to do everything we can to make sure their access to the vote is protected. Today we heard examples of the great work organizations across the country are doing on the ground to make sure the voices of our gente are heard. For example, existing law requires voter assistance in Spanish, and we want to make sure that everyone can vote in a language they understand. We have the ability to create the first truly inclusive democracy in the world: multi-racial, multi-ethnic, rooted in equity and justice. Democracy is about building a prosperous future that includes everyone. All the voices in America lifted together. That’s how we achieve the great promise of our Constitution,” said CHC Vice Chair of Communications Rep. Leger Fernández.

“Protecting basic freedoms, such as voting rights, should not be partisan. Voting rights are fundamental rights protected by our Constitution. As Chief Justice Earl Warren explained in Reynolds v. Sims, the right to vote is preservative of other rights and liberties. MAGA Republicans across the country have continued to push disruptive narratives, lies and conspiracy theories to depress voter turnout and sow mistrust in our elections at all levels. We are witnessing a wave of voter suppression efforts across our nation – a crisis that is buckling the foundation of our democratic process – and we cannot allow this to happen. Congress has a responsibility to uphold its most basic constitutional responsibilities. Latino voters, Black voters, women voters—have a voice and they each, we all, have a stake in every issue. Our fight to ensure voter protections is crucial, so their voices are heard,” said CHC Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Adriano Espaillat.

“Republican legislators continue to cling to the fantasy that the 2020 election was stolen. Because of this lie, more than a dozen states have passed laws that make it harder to vote, including my home state of Arizona. That is unacceptable. If the United States is to continue to be a beacon of democracy, we must do what is legislatively necessary to fight back and safeguard the right to vote. That’s why I’m proud to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to rally around solutions like combating disinformation and pushing for passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego.

Background

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus hosted this policy roundtable to identify solutions that will safeguard and strengthen our communities’ access to the ballot box, address Spanish-language mis/disinformation, and advance policies like the For the People Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

The CHC voting rights policy roundtable will help craft legislative solutions to ensure every Americans’ right to vote is protected.

This article was released by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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