Latino group working to get out the vote

Friday, November 4, 2016
Latino group working to get out the vote
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A phone bank in Raleigh

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The Latino advocacy group El Pueblo is conducting a massive outreach effort to get Hispanics in North Carolina to the polls on Election Day.

Nationally, this year's election could see a record number of Hispanic voters with more than 27 million eligible to cast ballots, according to the Pew Research Center. That's an increase of 4 million since 2012.

Volunteers from El Pueblo and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials or NALEO are reaching out to 40,000 registered Latino voters in the state through phone banks in Raleigh.

El Pueblo Executive Director Angeline Echeverria says they're not asking people to vote for a specific candidate but asking them to get out and vote.

"We want to make sure that Latinos in the state who have the right to vote are exercising that right," Echeverria said.

On Election Day, El Pueblo will monitor a Raleigh polling site with a large number of Latino voters and they'll man a hotline in the capital city to answer voters' questions in English and in Spanish. They've also distributed nonpartisan Spanish voter guides for the first time. Nearly 40,000 English and Spanish guides have been distributed.

According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, two percent of registered voters in the state or nearly 164,000 are Hispanic. But the Latino community is growing rapidly.

The number of Hispanic voters in the state has grown by nearly 50 percent since 2012, when it was at nearly 112,000.

"Even though the percentage is small, we're still talking about 160,000 voters in the state," Echeverria said. "That's well within the margin of error for several important races. So we are definitely thinking that it's an important electorate to engage and it's part of the changing demographics of North Carolina."

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has made controversial comments about Mexican immigrants, saying:

"They're bringing crime. They're rapists."

He's also talked about a plan of mass deportations and building a wall with Mexico. This has some wondering how it will impact the Latino vote.

"I think for all candidates in this election the Latino community is listening to what is being said," Echeverria said. "There's a sense that whatever the outcomes are it could be very defining for our communities in the future."