SVREP History

Since 1974

We are the oldest Latino voter registration non-profit, 501(c)3, empowering Latinos throughout the United States to mobilize voters. SVREP has registered 2.7 million Latinos, trained 150,000 Latino leaders, won 210 voting rights lawsuits.

1974 -1988

The Beginning

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and 1975 changed Latino History Forever.

In 1974, William C. Velásquez founded Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) to moblize and empower the Latino community at a time when Latino's were marginalized.

Willie conducted voter registration drives and filed lawsuits that dramatically changed the political landscape. His influence contributed to the popular shift in city elections and school districts, from at-large voting systems to single member districts.

The Latino vote grew from 2.1 to 3.7 million nationwide.

1988 -1994

The Next Phase

Andrew "Andy" Hernandez took the helm as President, immediately after the untimely passing of the SVREP founder Willie C. Velásquez.

Under Hernandez's leadership, SVREP was instrumental in developing its research department and its redistricting efforts. Later, SVREP established the Southwest Voter Research Institute (SVRI), which later became the William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI).

During Andy's tenure (88-94), Latino voter registration grew from 3.7 million to 4.2 million.

1994 - 2018

The Next Generation

Antonio González was named President of Southwest Voter in September of 1994. He is the longest serving president in SVREP's history. He was named one of Time Magazine's Top 100 most influential Latino leader in 2005.

During Antonio's tenure, the Latino vote grew from 5.4 to 15.5 million. Antonio sued over 100 cities and school districts using the California Voting Rights Act, transforming at-large election systems into single member districts.

Antonio was instrumental in setting up the Latino Academy to train organizers, candidates running for office and elected officials.

2018 - Present

The Struggle for Justice Continues

Lydia Camarillo was named President of SVREP after the untimely passing of Antonio Gonzalez on December 13, 2018.

Camarillo has been a part of SVREP since 1994, when she joined SVREP as Executive Director under Gonzalez leadership. She left in 1999, and returned to SVREP in 2003 as Vice President.

Under Lydia's tenure, the mobilization of Latinos has grown from 5.4 to 15.5 million. SVREP projects that 17.5 million Latinos will be registered to vote by the 2020 General Presidential Election.

She was named one of the 100 Sisters in Suffrage by the National Organization of Women to celebrate the passage of 19th Amendment to US Constitution, giving women the right to vote. The 19th Amendment celebration takes place on August 26, 2020.

"SVREP educated me about the importance of voting!"