ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) — Today, UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) President and CEO Janet Murguía was joined by affiliates, community leaders and local elected officials to formally launch UnidosUS’s new Power of 18 community voter registration canvassing program. This latest initiative builds on ongoing outreach efforts by UnidosUS under the “Power of 18” umbrella, including its High School Democracy Project, Latino Empowerment and Advocacy Project (LEAP) and online digital platforms such as the Power of 18 website and the Become a Voter tool, which are geared towards younger voters.
“We plan to spend the next six months making sure every eligible Latino voter has the opportunity to cast a ballot and make their voice heard. Our community has a lot at stake, we’ve had many challenges in the last year and half thanks to policies that unfairly target Latinos. There have been efforts to not only to divide our families, take away our health care and gut programs that help our children succeed, but to denigrate us as a community. We have the power in our hands to vote for people who will stand up for the Latino community, and we need to wield it,” Murguía said.
On-the-ground canvassing efforts will focus on Central and South Florida, which in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, has had a huge influx of Puerto Ricans who could play a pivotal role in the next election. Florida has the third largest Hispanic population in the nation, and while Latinos have historically been less likely to vote in midterm elections, this year could mark a turning point given the number of issues at stake that directly affect millions of Latinos who call Florida home.
As the largest Hispanic nonpartisan civil rights organization in the country, UnidosUS hopes to capitalize on the growing interest among Latinos in casting a ballot by registering 50,000 new voters in Florida, 101,000 nationally, and encouraging them to turn out at the polls. Over the last decade, UnidosUS has registered 240,000 new voters in Florida and more than 610,000 nationally. President Trump won the state by a thin margin in 2016, and there are several key races up for grabs here this fall.