|Minority involvement in voter registration and the voting process are vital to achieving fair representation across the country.|
While minorities comprise an ever-growing share of the U.S. population and have made some political gains recently, they remain significantly underrepresented in Congress and nearly every state legislature.
“The IAM represents a changing membership with an increasing number of minority members. We understand the importance of reflecting that in our leadership,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “All levels of government should also reflect the people they represent. Change is not occurring fast enough.”
For decades, the IAM and the labor family have recognized the importance of electing people who look like and understand the needs of minority and working families. The key to overcoming the institutional obstacles that slow progress is getting out the vote.
Click here to register to vote
According to analysis of demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Associated Press illuminated the disconnect between elected legislators and those they represent.
Hispanics, now the largest ethnic minority in the U.S., experience an especially large disparity. African Americans hold elected office with better percentages nationwide yet are still nearly absent in representation in Louisiana and Mississippi where they make up nearly a third of the population. Each of the two states has only one black member of Congress and a disproportionately small number in their state legislatures. Across the country, other minorities see substantial absences in representation as well.
Non-Hispanic whites make up more than 80 percent of congressional and state legislative seats yet make up only 60 percent of the population. The reasons range from fear of participation in the voting process by minorities to district gerrymandering to minimize their votes.
The real-life effects of the lack of representation are widespread. Cultural divisions can actually be deepened when decisions for public schools, housing, social programs, criminal justice reform and even election laws are decided without real involvement by those affected.
Click here to begin the voter registration process. Tell your family and friends to register to elect people who reflect working family values.