In more than 30 states, the percentage of adult Latinos who are U.S. citizens and thus eligible to vote in the country’s mid-term congressional elections falls within the 40-55% range. In other words, any honest voter mobilization effort among the U.S. Hispanic population should be clear about the uniform U.S. citizenship requirement for voting in federal elections, and avoid making generalized calls that could induce the sizable number of non-citizens in this segment of the population to vote and thereby get in trouble with the law.
However, the anti-Trump organization Mi Familia Vota is currently deploying a Latino voter mobilization ad, featuring former Univision news anchor María Elena Salinas, that totally avoids any mention of the U.S. citizenship voter requirement, and even deceptively tells all viewers (including the significant portion who are not citizens) "You are also an American. Use your voice. Use your power. Use your vote."
MARIA ELENA SALINAS: I’m María Elena Salinas. Hispanics are the largest minority in the country, but we are the ones who vote the least in midterm elections, in which the future of our districts, states and some laws, are decided. This time, use your power. Register before the deadline in your state and vote on November 6. Send a text with the word USA to 40649 for more information. You are also an American. Use your voice. Use your power. Use your vote.
Networks like Telemundo are partnering with Mi Familia Vota and other Democrat-aligned organizations in their Latino voter mobilization campaigns. If these networks were responsible, they would also partner with organizations like the Election Integrity Project, which has also launched Spanish-language television ads that encourages U.S. citizen Latinos to vote, but also warns Latinos who are not U.S. citizens against voting and getting into trouble with the law.
HIM: You´re voting on Tuesday, right?
HER: I can’t. I’m not a citizen.
HIM: My friend can help us. You can make the difference!
HER: I don´t want to go to jail, do you?
HIM: They´ll never catch us…I’m going to vote.
HER: You could get deported and lose any chance of becoming a citizen. Is that what you want?
HIM: I want my voice to matter now.
HER: If you really care so much about this country, do it legally and then your vote will matter.
HIM: I get you.
ANNOUNCER: On Tuesday, November 6th the United States will go to the polls to elect representatives in the government. If you are an American citizen, we urge you to vote! If you are not a U.S. citizen, it is illegal for you to vote in this country. If you are caught voting you will be arrested, put in jail, deported and lose any chance at amnesty or becoming a U.S. citizen! No one is above the law.
Only U.S. citizens can vote in federal and state elections. That is the law, and while in some places, like San Francisco, California, non-citizens, including those without legal status in the country, can vote in school board races, that is not the case for the congressional and gubernatorial elections in which liberals are now so desperately seeking voters, to the extreme of making such a deceptive and irresponsible call, as Mi Familia Vota is doing, over the airwaves.
Incidentally, a quick visit to the twitter account of MiFamilia Vota, the Latino voter outreach initiative for whom María Elena Salinas is a spokesperson, features another directly anti-Trump ad and their current hashtag, #votenotrumpadas, which plays on the Spanish word “trompada”, a slap in the face. The ad and the organization’s priorities could not be more clearly partisan.