Spanish-Language Outlets Spending Final Weeks Of Election Preparing Viewers In Case Of Voter Suppression
Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE
Responding to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments urging his supporters to be on the lookout for widespread voter fraud on Election Day, Hispanic media have repeatedly debunked the myth that such voter fraud exists and shared resources that their audiences could use if they are harassed -- or see others harassed -- at the polls.
Since Trump began asserting in mid-October that the presidential election is “rigged” against him because of voter fraud and because “illegal immigrants are voting,” Spanish-language outlets and Latinos in the media have been debunking his false claims and noting that Trump’s accusations threaten American democracy. They also warned that these tactics could intimidate minorities, causing them not to vote. Univision correspondent Juan Carlos Aguiar explained that there is no shortage of “experts who confirm that this position assumed by Trump is very dangerous.” Aguiar’s report featured political analyst José Parra, who pointed out that Trump’s charges of voter fraud exacerbate racial tensions “because ‘electoral fraud’ becomes the equivalent of people of color are voting for many people.” Translated from the October 18 edition of Univision’s Noticiero Univisión: Edición Nocturna:
JUAN CARLOS AGUIAR (CORRESPONDENT): It’s not just a few experts who confirm that this position assumed by Trump is very dangerous.
JOSÉ PARRA (POLITICAL ANALYST): Racial tensions become exacerbated because ‘electoral fraud’ becomes the equivalent of people of color are voting for many people, and they think that by not being a white American then therefore you are not an American citizen.
AGUIAR: In order to avoid possible episodes of racial discrimination, in New York, they created a mobile app to denounce them.
JOANNA CUEVAS (SPOKESPERSON FOR LATINO JUSTICE): Race, color, national origin, ability to speak English. These are all forms of discrimination that we are monitoring.
Faced with concerns over violence and the potential for intimidation of minority voters at the polls, Hispanic media have reported on various organizations’ mobilization efforts to protect voting rights on Election Day. La Opinión highlighted the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)’s request that the Department of Justice send federal election observers “in particular to areas with high percentages of immigrant and Puerto Rican voters,” as well as the organization’s guide for voters, which describes “what to do in case of harassment at the polls.” Univision published an explainer on voter intimidation and what to do when faced with such intimidation, directing readers to resources that could help them. Also, Univision’s late-night news program reported that the Organization of American States (OAS) will be assisting with monitoring polls, while Fusion highlighted the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against the Republican National Committee, which alleges that the RNC is assisting Trump in his efforts to suppress voter turnout.
Despite the deluge of coverage debunking Trump’s false claims, his fear tactics seem to be working. Telemundo reported that because of Trump’s fearmongering about a rigged election and his suggestion that he might not accept the results, 51 percent of Americans are worried that “violence will emerge the day of the elections” and “only 40 percent believe that the transfer of power will be peaceful.”