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Daily Newscasts

AZ Latinos Dispute "Apathetic" Voter Label

October 13, 2010

PHOENIX - A new survey from the Pew Hispanic Center characterizes Latino voters as "less motivated" to cast a ballot this fall than voters in general. Only half the Latinos surveyed said they were absolutely certain they'll vote. But Tania Marquez of the One Arizona coalition says a new Rocky Mountain Poll shows that's not the case here, in the state she describes as "ground zero" of the immigration debate.

"At least 73 percent of Latinos – of registered voters, Hispanics in Arizona – are strongly planning to vote this November."

Marquez says 80 percent of Latino voters contacted in the One Arizona voter registration drive say they're motivated to vote by their opposition to Arizona's controversial immigration law known as SB 1070, as well as other anti-immigrant legislation.

Francisco Heredia is the Arizona director for Mi Familia Vota, a group that is part of One Arizona. He says the coalition's ten member organizations were able to register some 23,000 new Latino voters in a four-month period earlier this year.

"And also a more impressive number, that we've been able to register more than 40,000 Latinos on the permanent early voting list."

Latino voter turnout has historically lagged in Arizona, but Heredia sees the permanent early voting list as one remedy.

"I think the future is voting by mail, and if we signed up as many Latinos on this list, that Latinos will have a more representative voice in our elections."

He says the permanent early voting list means a voter is automatically sent a ballot for every election; has ample time to make an informed decision; and doesn't have to worry about figuring out where their polling place is on Election Day.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ