Hispanic voter registration up in Pima County - Tucson News Now

Hispanic voter registration up in Pima County

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Mi Familia Vota set a goal to register 7,000 new voters in the 2016 election cycle.

Since July 14, 5,832 new voters have been signed up in Pima County. 

There are still two weeks to register, and a flood of volunteers have come on board, the debate Monday night seems to have energized the Latino community so they are expecting a surge.

"Absolutely, it's going to go up a lot," said Amadeus Toleo-Seinz, a volunteer for Mi Familia Vota. "I feel the Latino vote is going to come out and express their opinion very loud this time around."

Mi Familia Vota has been disappointed in the past, most recently in 2014 when a big effort moved the needle only about 1 percent statewide. But Toleo-Seinz says he feels this year will be different.

"The policies and rhetoric that Donald Trump has put out there is affecting Latino voters in a way that has never been done before," he said. "It's our shot across the bow."

Meantime, fellow volunteer Sandy Ochoa visits ACE Charter High School to address a class of government and civics students.

"When you register to vote, you have a say so in what happens in your community," she tells the class.

She will urge the students, most of whom can't vote yet, to compel their parents to cast a ballot. It's an attempt to change a culture which under-represents itself in the ballot box.

One of those students, 18-year-old Armando Marrin, who is voting for the first time, says he will be the first in his family to vote, but not the first to register.

"My sister, she's 21, she's registered," he said. But asked if she votes, "No, she's very busy, she works a lot."

But he says his parents, who should become citizens after the election, will urge her to cast her ballot.

It's something he says he will "always do."

It's that change in attitudes which Mi Familia Vota is trying to forge in the Latino community.

"To get anybody possible who has never voted to vote," said Ochoa. "This is our goal, our really, really, big campaign."

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