Voter Drive Designed to Combat Latino Disillusionment

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The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has launched a multi-state voter registration operation ahead of the 2012 election with the goal of encouraging Latinos to participate in the political process, despite the difficulties the community has felt since the last election.

The initiative, titled Mobilize 2 Vote, is intended to register 180,000 eligible Latino voters in key swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, and Florida, as well as other states with long-standing and emerging Latino populations, such as, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and North Carolina. NCLR, the nation’s largest Latino advocacy group, seeks to raise between $6 million and $7 million to fund the campaign, according to Clarissa Martinez De Castro, the director of civic engagement.

With 12.2 million Latinos expected to vote in 2012, political observers believe that the group could play a decisive role in the presidential election. But there is also a sense that Latinos, a community battered by the recession and largely disappointed of the lack of progress on immigration reform, could stay home from the polls.

“Because we haven’t seen a lot of progress, we can allow disillusionment to set in and say that we shouldn’t show up on Election Day because it doesn’t make a difference,” Martinez De Castro said in an interview with Univision News. “What I would say to that is that the disillusionment and the frustration is legitimate. But one election is not enough and we need to continue demonstrating the growing power of the Latino electorate so that folks understand they cannot demonize us.”

NCLR joins a litany of Latino organizations running get-out-the-vote operations ahead of this year’s 2012 election, including Univision and the Pitbull-backed Voto Latino campaign, but it’s looking to build upon its previous voter registration drives.

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