Political Power and Voting Rights

With all of this organizing, the Civil Rights Era introduced the concept of the “Latinx vote.”

The Latinx Vote

Winning over Mexican American voters in Texas contributed greatly to John F. Kennedy’s victory in the 1960 presidential election. His campaign specifically targeted the Mexican American community to make sure that as many as possible would turn out to vote. This mobilization Pushing a group of people to vote in a certain election or for a certain candidate or issue and the mobilization that Latinx groups were doing led to many Latinx politicians being elected to offices at the state and even national level in the 1960s and 1970s.

To support community organizations but also to advocate for Latinx-focused issues at a national level, the National Council of La Raza was formed as the first national advocacy organization for Latinxs. NCLR was a resource for candidates, voters, and community members to make sure that their needs were being fought for at the highest levels of government. It provided much-needed lobbying Advocating for certain changes in government by working directly with officials for the Latinx political movement.

The Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) was adopted in 1965. It is one of the most important pieces of legislation ensuring the civil rights of all Americans ever passed by the United States Congress. VRA reinforced the 15th Amendment's guarantee that no person shall be denied the right to vote on account of race or color.

For Latinx Americans the 1975 extension of the VRA is very important. It removed language as a barrier to civic engagement. Section 203 added a bilingual election requirement that demanded election officials in places with large numbers of individuals who lack English fluency to provide ballots and voting information in the language of the minority community.

This extension ended discrimination against "language minorities," specifically the Mexican Americans of Texas, Arizona and California, Puerto Ricans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Alaskans, Hawaiians, and others.