Conn. campaign works to register Latino voters

Efforts are made every election to get people to register to vote and to encourage them to follow through on election day. This election is no exception, and here in Connecticut, strides have been made to register the Puerto Rican population to vote.

On Oct. 14, UConn’s School of Social Work hosted a discussion on why more Puerto Ricans vote in Puerto Rico than in the United States. During the past two years, numerous efforts have been made to register Puerto Ricans to vote in Connecticut. Throughout the state, there are eight grassroots committees operating in cities such as Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, Meriden, New Britain, Willamantic, Torrington, Waterbury, New Haven and New London.

“We have people who set up tables at baseball games, community events and recruit people to vote,” said Antonia Cordero, associate professor at the UConn School of Social Work and a chair of the Puerto Rican/Latino Studies Project.

There is a nationwide effort to get more Puerto Ricans registered to vote.

The number of Puerto Ricans who vote in Puerto Rico is around 80 percent of the population, which is much higher than the number who vote in the continental United States.

“There are language barriers in the voting process, and the process is different in the United States than their native land,” Cordero said. “There are primaries in the United States, different voting machines and there is a fear of the unknown.”

The efforts made across the state are received well by various UConn students.

“I think this is a very good thing, especially because this election is very historical, and people should know they have a voice,” said Rosa Munoz, a 7th-semester human development and family studies major.

“I think the efforts a good, and I think voting is important regardless of race,” said Brandon Lawrence, a 5th-semester animal science major.

The campaign hopes to register many Latino voters and encourage them to go out on election day.

“There are going to be a lot more Latino voters, as never seen before,” Cordero said. “The grassroot committees are empowering.”

The Connecticut Latino voter campaign has a goal of registering 10,000 Latinos and as of now they have registered more than 9,000.

Credits to The Daily Campus
Liz Ruocco

Issue date: 11/3/08 Section: Election Special