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Latino Group Calls for Peace at the Polls

The group Promise Arizona is leading a three-day prayer vigil to encourage peace at the polls this election and encourage immigrants' rights supporters to vote. (Promise Arizona)
The group Promise Arizona is leading a three-day prayer vigil to encourage peace at the polls this election and encourage immigrants' rights supporters to vote. (Promise Arizona)
November 7, 2016

PHOENIX -- A dozen polling sites across south and west Phoenix will get a blessing on Monday and Tuesday from a group of Latino leaders who want to establish a sense of peace and positivity around the voting process - and counteract any voter intimidation that might take place.

The vigil is part of a three-day event called Faith, Hope and Vote that started Sunday and will run through Election Day. James Garcia, communications director with the group Promise Arizona, said the gathering is a reaction to calls on social media by some conservative groups for people to stand armed outside polling places to guard against election fraud.

"Election day is supposed to be a happy day where you celebrate democracy and the right that we have to vote,” Garcia said. "And they're doing it specifically to kind of counter the worries that people have that there might actually be hostility or even potentially violence at some polling places around the country."

On Sunday, Promise Arizona led a procession of about 50 people from Saint Matthews Catholic Church in West Phoenix to the Maricopa County Recorder's office, where a priest delivered a blessing, rejecting tension and ugliness, and calling on everyone to ensure poll workers and voters are safe.

Garcia said the Latino community needs to raise voter turnout and make its voice heard.

"Particularly those who support immigrants' rights, civil rights, it's critically important that the Latino community go to the polls, that they participate in this election,” he said. "Because who becomes president next year will have a lot to do with whether or not immigrants' rights issues are heard. "

Promise Arizona was part of the One Arizona coalition that registered more than 150,000 new voters this year, two-thirds of whom were Latino.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ