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Leaders Roll Up Their Sleeves to Increase Voter Participation in Latino Community

National Voter Registration Day is of special significance to one community across the state including in the Bay Area.

Latino leaders say more needs to be done to increase voter participation in their community and some are already taking action.

Only 15% of Latinos voted in California’s primary election and staff at the Registrar of Voters in Santa Clara County are encouraging people to vote in the mid-term elections.

“It’s really important to vote in any election, understand what you’re voting for, who you’re voting for,” said voter Kaliya Mendez.

She said she was disappointed to hear that very few people in her Latino community voted in the state’s June primary.

“I find that very disheartening to say the least,” she said.

Misrayn Mendoza who works with the groups Amigos de Guadalupe, an advocacy non-profit in the heart of East San Jose, thinks more needs to be done as far as outreach goes.

He said there was a failure in the entire Latino community in getting people to the polls.

“I believe we didn’t do enough and a lot of the efforts are not focused in the right places,” he said.

Amigos de Guadalupe is doubling down, hosting candidate forums on the east side to educate voters and register people to vote on site.

In Washington, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a forum on Latino voting rights and voter turnout ahead of the midterm elections.

Christian Arana, Vicepresident of the Latino Community Foundation said the foundation awarded $350 in grants to community groups to get out the Latino vote in California for the midterms.

“Looking at the data, there are apparently 3 million Latinos who are eligible to vote, but aren’t registered,” he explained. “And most of those Latinos are young people. So its incumbent on all of us to…that young people understand the importance of elections.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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