New Latino voters can make a difference in midterm elections

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New Latino voters can make a difference in midterm elections

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Photo courtesy of Metro Creative Graphics

Targeting more than 350,000 unregistered, eligible Latino voters in Illinois, the Latino Policy Forum launched the Voto X Voto campaign—a collaborative effort including members of the Illinois Latino Agenda and other civic organizations to register 5,000 voters by Oct. 7 and reach one million Latinos through coordinated public outreach. The campaign is also working with Chicago Public Schools to register 17-year-old high school seniors to vote. Election Day is Nov. 4.

“Latinos have a lot at stake in the next election. With greater turnout during Early Voting and Election Day, they have potential to determine the outcome of major statewide offices,” said Sol Flores, executive director of La Casa Norte. La Casa Norte, a member of the Illinois Latino Agenda, is one of 11 organizations that have signed on to this effort.

Since Latino voters are an important part of the election process, this campaign helps educate them on their right to vote and why is it important to do it. Part of the reason why such a large number of eligible Latino voters don’t vote is the lack of knowledge and education about the electoral process.

“Parents coming from a different country may not yet know how they can get civically engaged. A lot of times talking to them is a point of contact and how they can be involved. During elections is the best time to get involved. This is when the magic happens,” said Diana Mendoza, campaign manager from Latino Policy Forum. “Knowing who your alderman is, congressman is, who your senator and governor are and what they are doing is essential.”

The participating organizations in this campaign are Corazon Community Services, Family Focus Nuestra Familia, Family Focus Highland Park, Gads Hill Center, Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, La Casa Norte, Latino Resources, LUCHA, LULAC, Northwest Side Housing Center and Through a Child’s Eyes.

According to Mendoza, another reason why Latinos don’t vote is because they are disappointed with the government and its officials, and especially the lack of immigration reform. They also don’t see a connection to the government.

“We haven’t met all the people that are eligible but we have spoken to a few. One general answer is, ‘I don’t care about the government.’ There is disappointment in Obama and the immigration reform. Young voters and parents say that,” said Mendoza. “We want people to register to vote. It is your choice but we really need people at the polls. We want to demonstrate that Latinos do vote.”

To find out how you can become a registered voter, go to: www.chicagoelections.com or call the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners at 312-269-7900. You can also call the Latino Policy Forum at 312-376-1766 and ask to speak to Martin Torres or Diana Mendoza.

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