4 thoughts on “Commentary: How Can We Better Engage Latino Millennials in the Political Process?

  1. If your objective is simply that Latino’s vote above a certain threshold, then we need to make it easier for people to register to vote and then convince them to do it, to include holding their hand from beginning to end. Education at an early age works wonders. I remember growing up in California in the 70s/80s and learning about recycling, how bad smoking was, etc. I was an easy target as a child to accept these as important truths.

    We could also change voting approaches. Instead of a zero-sum game – pick this candidate or that candidate – we could allow people to rank their picks. I think this would result in something closer to the mean and increase a voter’s sense that his or her vote did count even if their top choice didn’t win. Perhaps their second choice wins. Of course, this only works when there is more than 2 candidates: can you imagine this approach in the Republican Primary? And definitely get rid of rules that reduce the link between our votes and the results, e.g., Democratic Super Delegates, closed primaries, the electoral college, the dominance of the two-party system.

    If your objective is to grow the Latino percent of the middle class, we need to do those things that put more weight on those policies that increase economic opportunities such free college education (we used to have this in the USA). If you want or prefer to focus on those areas that are “tech” centric, work to get internet access considered a public good like access to water and electricity.

    Although I don’t see the power of an app-centric approach (I think this is due to generational, old-age cynical factors), I wish you the best.

    • Hi Marc,

      Thank you for your feedback and ideas. I agree, we need to make it easier for people to register to vote. And yes, we also need policies that increase economic opportunities, especially in the education sector.

      San Antonio’s ‘Digital Divide’ is among the worst in the US. The internet is as important as paying your electricity or having running water — broadband increasingly looks more like a utility than a luxury. It’s also important because it allows people to better their financial situation by working from home or accessing online education programs.

      In regards to the ‘app-centric approach’, I give an example of how I’m trying to motivate millennials to participate in the civic life. Not saying that an app will fix the lack of engagement, but it will definitely help promote political participation through the use of technology. The goal of civic technology is to deepen the democratic relationship between citizens and their government!

  2. I am proud to see other millennials stepping up to lead and inspire others to get involved in the political process. In Washington, one of the things that I hear a lot about millennials is “nobody cares what we think — because we don’t vote.” Sad and true fact. While I wish you the best and hope you are able to get the younger generation participating politically, I do have a couple questions about your strategy.
    First, there are already several apps that give localized issue & election info, including Countable, Texas in Your Pocket, icitizen, TheVotingApp, etc. How is yours going to be different than what is already out there or in development?
    Also, the existence of these apps does not translate to increased voter turnout. What is your strategy to inspire more young Latinos to get to the polls?

    Again, I commend your effort and I do wish you success.

    • Hi Arh,

      Thank you for your feedback and ideas. Yes, we millennials need to get more involved in the political process! When I worked in DC, I faced the same criticism, “you millennials don’t vote or participate in the process”… But I believe that our generation has the potential to transform American politics. There is an approximate total number of 80 million US millennials today, that’s a lot of political influence if we organize and vote.

      In regards to my platform, Cityflag is a mobile app that aims to create a more inclusive and transparent relationship between local governments and citizens. Countable, Texas in Your Pocket, icitizen and TheVotingApp are all great platforms! However, our platform is not for elections but rather it enables you to interact with your local government by creating geo-located reports on issues such as potholes, crime incidents, and public property deterioration by taking pictures or creating civic-petitions. Our app functions as a gamified public service that uses game dynamics and mechanics based on incentives in the form of Points, Badges and Rewards to engage citizens with their community. Users can also share their reports or petitions on social media, maximizing exposure to their requests. We are not going to fix the lack of civic engagement overnight, but I believe that millennials are more likely to contribute their time and efforts to resolving their city infrastructure problems when they have ownership of a tool and some part of the process.

      Again, thank you for your comments!

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