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Turning Out Latino Youth Vote? There’s an App for That

A new smartphone app is designed to engage young Hispanic voters. (Fi2W.org)
A new smartphone app is designed to engage young Hispanic voters. (Fi2W.org)
June 29, 2016

NEW YORK -- Immigrants have a lot at stake in this year's presidential campaign, and a new smartphone app aims to help get out the vote on Election Day.

Voter turnout will be critical this year but, traditionally, fewer Latino voters, especially Latino youths, have gone to the polls than have other groups. John Rudolph, executive producer of the public radio organization Feet in 2 Worlds, said he hopes this new app will make a difference.

"The Unidos app is designed to engage young Latinos to give them information that they need to register to vote and become informed voters," he said.

The free app is being released today for iPhones.

Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, but Rudolph said a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that differences in voter turnout are significant.

"Forty-four percent of Hispanics said they were likely to vote in the November election," he said, "which compares to 70 percent of whites who say that they're going to vote."

That difference could be enough to sway the election results in many districts.

The difficulty in engaging young voters is nothing new, and other efforts are under way to try to motivate them to vote. Rudolph said the Unidos app is using a mix of news and useful information combined with sharable content such as emojis in Spanish and English.

"So we're hoping that by using the language of smartphones," he said, "we'll be able to engage an audience that a lot of people have been scratching their heads over how to reach for many years."

Rudolph said the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, and that court's recent immigration ruling, is just one example of the importance this election will have for the Latino community.

More information is online at beta.fi2w.org. The app is Unidos - The Next Generation of American Voters.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY