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"Don't Vote" Message Mobilizes NV Latinos...to Vote

October 22, 2010

LAS VEGAS - The ad aired only five times in Nevada, and that was all it took to create an uproar. An attack ad aimed at U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and other well-known Democrats has been pulled by the Spanish-language media company Univision. It tells Latinos not to vote in this election, saying it's the "only way to send Congress a clear message" for not tackling immigration reform.

Lily Eskelsen, vice president of the National Education Association, will speak at a Las Vegas voter rally on Saturday to urge people of all ethnic backgrounds to cast their ballots. She hopes the "no-vote" ad will have exactly the opposite effect.

"I'm hoping that everyone who saw this and is hearing about it will say, 'I know what kind of message I'm going to send with my vote,' and that's, 'I will not tolerate someone disrespecting any group of people, any community of people.'"

The ad can still be seen on the Internet. A conservative, Virginia-based group calling itself "Latinos for Reform" produced the television spot; the group's leader says the goal was to tell people they have the option of not voting rather than choosing between candidates they don't like. But the ad is a pointed jab at Reid in his re-election race against Republican Sharron Angle.

Lynne Warne, who heads the Nevada State Education Association, says while voters are concerned about immigration reform, it is not the only issue on their minds.

"You know, though it is an issue that this country is going to need to tackle at some point, there are a lot of issues that this country is wrestling with right now, and Nevada's no exception."

More than 130,000 Hispanics in Nevada are registered to vote, including 10,000 newly registered this year.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NV