Latino groups launch massive campaign to register Latino voters

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    The National Council of La Raza and Mi Familia Vota teamed up Thursday to launch a large-scale Latino voter registration campaign with the goal of registering 250,000 eligible Latino voters before the 2014 midterm elections.

    “Latinos have had an indelible impact on the nation’s political landscape in recent elections, and their untapped potential may exert even greater influence,” Janet Murguía, president and CEO of NCLR, said at a press conference Thursday.

    Image of Janet Murguía, who spoke Thursday about the details of the campaign.

    Janet Murguía spoke Thursday about the campaign to register Latino voters. (Twitter/@gebemartinez)

    “To fully leverage this potential,” she continued, “we must push to register as many eligible Latino voters as possible, particularly as we approach a midterm election that will no doubt have an impact on how issues important to our community — such as immigration reform — are addressed moving forward.”

    The first phase of the campaign dubbed “Mobilize to Vote 2014” will focus on registering Latino voters in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Organizers of the campaign say these states have large populations of Latinos who are eligible to vote but haven’t registered.

    Later in the campaign, states where the number of unregistered Latino voters is particularly high will also be targeted. Those states include Texas, Florida and California. Combined, these three states are home to more than 5 million Latinos who are eligible to vote but haven’t registered.

    Campaign targets three types of potential Latino voters

    Organizers of the “Mobilize to Vote 2014” campaign say the number of Latinos who participate in elections over the last decade has increased. However, they also note that there are almost as many eligible but inactive Latino voters (11.1 million) as there are actual Latino voters (12.2 million).

    The "Mobilize to Vote 2014" will reach about 2.5 million potential Latino voters.

    The “Mobilize to Vote 2014″ will reach about 2.5 million potential Latino voters. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Furthermore, they point out that approximately 8.6 Latinos are eligible to vote but have not registered and that there are nearly 64,000 young Latino citizens who turn 18 and become eligible to vote every month.

    The “Mobilize to Vote 2014” campaign will be targeting these voters as well as two other pools of potential voters: registered voters who have moved and need to re-register and the broader Latino voting-age population.

    These potential voters will be receiving registration materials in the mail as early as this month. Another round of materials will be sent in May and August. Phone calls will also be made to remind them to fill out the registration forms.

    Organizers say that by the end of the campaign, they hope to have reached about 2.5 million potential Latino voters in the Southwest.

    Latino voters are ‘too important to ignore’

    In the past, Latino voters have played a major role in deciding the outcome of key elections. This includes the 2012 presidential election when Latinos made up 10 percent of the electorate and helped President Barack Obama win in key battleground states.

    Image of Ben Monterroso speaking of the campaign to register Latino voters. (Twitter/@benmonterroso)

    Ben Monterroso spoke Thursday about the campaign to register Latino voters. (Twitter/@benmonterroso)

    Organizers of the “Mobilize to Vote 2014” campaign believe Latinos will once again influence the outcome of key races in the upcoming elections. They say Latinos will be “a driving force” in the electoral outcomes of gubernatorial, state legislative and congressional races all throughout the U.S.

    Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, insisted on Thursday that Latino voters are “too important to ignore.” He advised candidates to not wait until six weeks before an election to reach out to Latino voters.

    “Elected officials need to pay attention to our issues on a regular basis and consistently engage Latinos,” he said. “How they react to key issues such as immigration reform will not be forgotten on Election Day.”

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