Monday, October 4, 2010
SAN DIEGO Midterm elections are about a month away, and the Registrar of Voters is busy putting out pamphlets and voting guides in all languages.
In California, the number of Latino youth who are registering to vote has been growing exponentially -- an estimated 15 percent in the last five years, according to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.
Carmen Lopez is an outreach coordinator for San Diego County, who says having Spanish materials generally helps bring out the vote. But getting young Americans of immigrant descent to vote poses a different challenge.
"As children, we serve as interpreters for our parents in school, and we continue that role," says Lopez. "And I think the younger people do have a sense of belonging here. It's a matter of registering to vote and becoming a part of the civic engagement for everybody."
As a dedicated outreach liaison for the Latino and immigrant communities, Lopez's job is to reach out to Latinos of all ages and encourage them to exercise their right to vote.
"Right now, there's a Latino that's turning 18 every 30 seconds in the U.S.," says Lopez. "So because we have a younger population, it's very important to engage our young folks in being part of the process."
As the Latino population in San Diego has grown, so has their support for the Democratic Party over the last decade.