Latino Voter Outreach Trying To Boost Rolls By 10,000

Sep 22, 2016

Currently 50,000 Latinos in Iowa are registered to vote, according to Iowa’s League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

The organization is intensifying voter outreach in Iowa, as it wants to increase Latino registration by as many as 10,000 people. LULAC is attending all Latino festivals in Iowa, including one this weekend in Des Moines.  It's also holding community events this month and in early October. 

Joe Henry of Des Moines is LULAC's National Vice President of the Midwest. He predicts that Iowa’s Latino community will make a significant contribution at the polls on November 8. 

“There just has not been outreach [previously,]” says Henry. “The task is ours to mobilize that effort. And we’ve never really had that opportunity before. We’ve never really had the density as we’ve have now. And the amount of volunteers as we have now.”

Henry adds that the rhetoric by GOP nominee Donald Trump has made voting important for many people.

"Clearly the hate mongering has caused a lot of concern within our community," says Henry. "What we have been saying when we’ve heard some of the negative things thrown at us by Trump and his supporters, it’s clear made it clear to us that if we don’t get involved somebody else is going to decide for us what is important. And we clearly do not want people who support Trump to decide things that are going to go counter to our community." 

In response, Trump’s Iowa director campaign Eric Branstad said in an email, "Donald Trump’s message is resonating with voters of all backgrounds because they trust him to protect American workers, restore our economy, and keep our country safe."

Latinos currently make up nearly 6 percent of Iowa's population, and it is the fastest growing minority in the state.