Massive Latino Voter Registration Drive Launched

AP, September 25, 2008

A coalition of Spanish-language media and community organizations kicked off a massive voter registration drive Thursday, aiming to register nearly one million Hispanic voters.

Hispanics have long been seen as a potentially powerful voting force, but that promise has yet to fully materialize.

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“This effort will not only put voter registration forms in the hands on Latinos, but also may help shape the political landscape,” said Janet Murgia, president and CEO of National Council of La Raza.

Only 47 percent of Hispanic citizens of any race turned out to vote in the 2004 presidential election, compared with 67 percent for non-Hispanic white citizens and 60 percent for blacks, according to census figures.

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Hispanics traditionally have leaned Democratic, but organizers emphasized this effort was nonpartisan and intended only to increase civic participation and make the Hispanic voice heard on issues that matter most to them: the economy, education and immigration reform.

“This is neither a pro-Democratic or a pro-Republican effort,” said Mike Fernandez, Vice President of Public Affairs, State Farm Insurance Companies, which helped fund the campaign.” “It’s pro-voting, and pro-American.”

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