Local organizations collaborate to raise Latino voter turnout

Elidable+voters+must+register+before+February+3rd+in+order+to+participate+in+the+Texas+Primary+election+on+March+3rd.+

Courtesy of 123RF.com

Elidable voters must register before February 3rd in order to participate in the Texas Primary election on March 3rd.

Margaret Cataldi, Staff Reporter

 Telemundo 48 partnered with the University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP) League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) chapter Wednesday, Jan. 15, in an effort to register students to vote in the upcoming primary election. The two organizations tabled together outside of the student union building amongst dozens of other student organizations advertising their programs to new and returning students on their daily commute between classes.  

“Were partnering with LULAC to encourage students and everyone in the community to come and register to vote,” said Luisa Arredondo, marketing assistant for Telemundo 48 El Paso. “Right now it’s very important for everyone to have the voice, to have a say, in what is going on with our country.” 

With the 2020 presidential election approaching this November, the Democratic primary election, which will determine who will be the Democratic nominee running against President Donald Trump, is underway. Iowa will kick off the election Feb. 3, followed by New Hampshire Feb. 11. From then until early June, elections will be held across all states. 

A number of delegates are allocated to each democratic candidate based on the amount of votes they receive in each state’s primary election. The candidate that earns the most delegates nation-wide becomes the Democratic candidate.  

Texas is one of more than 15 states that host primary elections on what is known as “Super Tuesday,” where a large number of states “set their date as early as possible to give their voters the greatest influence in the primary results,” according to uspresidentialelectionnews.com. Super Tuesday is typically held the first day of March, which this year is March 3. The deadline to register to vote in the Texas primary election is Feb. 3 

“Here in El Paso, we have a very low voter turnout rate,” said Diveli Perez, recruitment chair for LULAC Council 22350 here on campus. “Two thirds of eligible voters don’t vote.”  

Despite the surge in voter turnout during the 2018 midterm elections, Texas is still on the low end of voter turnout percentage, with only 42.2%, according to Statista.com.  

“It’s so important that people have a voice, especially the Latino population in El Paso,” said Gabriel Loya, a UTEP political science major and a member of Battleground Texas, a political action committee (PAC) organized with the intention to make Texas a swing state.  

As a member of the organization, Loya has been registering new voters all across the city.  

(When I register new voters) I see that everybody just feels like their voice doesn’t matter. And it’s so important that we get that mentality out of our heads,” Loya said. “Everybody’s voice does matter, especially when you’re involved in local politics.”  

Loya went on to explain how informing the community about local politics will help transform and increase voter participation.  

“The feeling that one can make a change in their own government is extremely low in this area, and it’s because our population doesnt really know much about government,” Loya added. “It’s only once we begin to educate our population, that everybody begins to start voting.” 

El Pasoans can register to vote by filling out a Voter Registration Application (VRA) and mailing it to the El Paso County Elections Department before Feb. 3. VRAs are also available at the Department of Public Safety, any U.S. Post Office, all El Paso Public Libraries, Texas Health and Human Services Commission offices and at any public high school with the city.  

For more information and resources, and to check if you are registered, visit epcountyvotes.com or download the El Paso County Elections App.  

Margaret Cataldi may be reached at [email protected]