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Politics

San Diego's Minority Voters Get Free Rides To Polls

Alliance San Diego is offering free rides to polling places in communities like City Heights, Nov. 8, 2016.
Alliance San Diego
Alliance San Diego is offering free rides to polling places in communities like City Heights, Nov. 8, 2016.

Historically underrepresented voters in San Diego County are getting free lifts to the polls Tuesday for the General Election as activists strive to maximize an anticipated Latino voter surge.

The immigrant rights group Alliance San Diego is driving a non-partisan "party bus" around communities south of Interstate 8 to increase turnout among minority groups. It will offer free rides around areas like southeast San Diego until polls close at 8 p.m.

Executive director Andrea Guerrero said the group expects San Diego County's Latinos in particular to play a historic role in the election.

"Today, Latinos are going to bring it home," she said. "They're going to go to the polls in record numbers here, as they are across the country, and they're going to make their voices heard. They're going to become decision-makers."

Latinos represent 21 percent of San Diego County’s registered voters — a record number, up from 18 percent in the 2012 presidential election. The surge has been due, in part, to citizenship drives among Latinos who wanted to vote against the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump because of his comments about immigrants.

Long lines at polling places in communities with large Latino populations indicate that the group's turnout may be as high as expected.

"We have had reports of extremely long lines in Fallbrook, with poll workers reporting they haven't seen this level of turnout for years," said Don Greene, North Area vice chair for the San Diego County Democratic Party.