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Community Organizers Urge Florida Latino Voters To Pick A Political Party When Registering To Vote

Outline of Florida overlayed with a voting booth sign and information about registration deadlines.
Alianza for Progress
Latino community organizations are working to register as many Hispanics as possible ahead of Monday's registration deadline.

Monday is the last day to register to vote in order to cast a ballot in Florida’s August primaries, and Latino community organizers are urging people to pick a party when registering.

According to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, over 59,000 Hispanic voters are registered with “no party affiliation.”

“These August elections are critical for determining so many down ballot races that impact our day-to-day lives, our schools, our economy, who represents us in Tallahassee,” said Andrea Mercado, executive director of New Florida Majority (NewFM).

She added: “It's not only the president or members of Congress in Washington, D.C. who make important decisions that affect our lives.”

Leaders from NewFM, Alianza for Progress, the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), and Vamos for Puerto Rico hosted a webinar on Friday to “energize the electorate” ahead of Monday’s deadline.

Ruben Lebron, political director of Alianza for Progress, said his organization is focusing on primary election education.

On their Facebook page, they host local candidate forums “where candidates have made the case as to why they're the best representatives for the Latino community, especially for races and contested races that are in highly dense Latino districts,” Lebron said.

He added that they’ve also been running a vote-by-mail campaign with the message that people don’t have to choose between their right to vote and the safety of their family.

“The last thing voters want to hear during this pandemic is that voting by mail is not secure,” Lebron said. “People want peace of mind that they can exercise their right to vote from the safety of their homes.”

Both Alianza for Progress and Vamos for Puerto Rico are working with Puerto Ricans who recently moved to Florida due to natural disasters.

Lebron said their goal is to increase awareness among the Puerto Rican community, who may not realize they are eligible to vote in Florida elections or may not be familiar with state politics.

“Puerto Ricans and Latinx communities in Central Florida are a powerful voting bloc, just like we are now the heart and soul of this thriving community,” said Maria Revelles, the Florida State Director of Vamos for Puerto Rico.

Alysia Cruz is the WUSF Stephen Noble news intern for the fall 2019 semester. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida in Communication and is now enrolled at USF St. Petersburg, pursuing her Master’s in Digital Journalism & Design concentrating on food writing.
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