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The Forum sets out to register 5,000 new voters

by Communications intern Michelle Jimenez

Latinos hold the power to change the outcome of political elections. Earlier this year, the Huffington Post reported a total of “8.6 million Latinos…eligible to vote,” couldn’t vote because they were not registered. This number intensifies when one considers the fact that, “there are almost as many potential Latino voters (11.1 million) as actual voters (12.2 million)” in the U.S.  In Illinois, the 2010 gubernatorial election was decided by just 19,000 votes. That’s not many—especially when you think about how 361,000 eligible Latinos never registered. 

Knowing this, the Forum is taking action to change the narrative on Latino civic engagement by working with its nonprofit partners and volunteers to register new voters.

“The Forum and its nonprofit partners decided to initiate a voter registration campaign in order to promote greater civic participation among Latino residents.  Despite accounting for the largest population growth in Illinois since the turn of the millennium, their political power and influence have not grown in tandem,” Martin Torres, the Forum’s senior policy analyst stated.

The Forum, along with its nonprofit partners, including Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA), Gads Hill Center, La Casa Norte, and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), have set out to register 5,000 new voters, from Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, by October 6.

“We aim to [increase] Latino political participation by registering and mobilizing Latino voters.  Latinos have a lot at stake in the next election and they have potential to determine the outcome of major statewide offices with greater turnout during early voting and election day,” Torres added.

So far, the Forum has gotten 91 volunteers. This number is continually increasing as others learn about the volunteer opportunity the Forum is providing— an opportunity that could impact future political elections.

Jose Martinez, a current intern at the Forum, reflected on his experience at registering people to vote. “My first time registering Latinos [to vote] was at The Chicago Urban Art Society's Slow & Low: Chicago Community Lowrider Festival in Pilsen. I was able to meet people from all walks of life and inform them about the election coming up in November,” Martinez stated.

Martinez is eager to register more Latinos at future events and encourages others to do the same.  

“The best feeling about volunteering is knowing I am part of the change. I am empowering and educating Latinos, while creating awareness on voting.”

The Forum and its nonprofit partners continue looking for volunteers. To participate and acquire more information go to: http://bit.ly/1opZ4mU. For other news about the Forum and its issues follow on Twitter: @latinopolicy.

Posted In: Representation in Government, Strengthening Leadership, State Investment