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Calling on Young Latino Voters Through Smartphones

A new smartphone app is designed to engage young Latinos on issues that will help them cast an informed vote in November. (CAFNR/
A new smartphone app is designed to engage young Latinos on issues that will help them cast an informed vote in November. (CAFNR/
July 7, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - 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 youth, have gone to the polls than other groups. John Rudolph, executive producer with the public radio organization Feet in 2 Worlds, hopes this free iPhone 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.

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

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

That difference could be enough to sway the election results in many districts. According to data from the Pew Research Center, millennials make up 47 percent of eligible Hispanic voters in Tennessee.

The difficulty in engaging young voters is nothing new, and there are other efforts 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 shareable content such as emojis in Spanish and English.

"So we're hoping that by using the language of smartphones, that 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," he said.

Rudolph points out that 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.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN