Deadline for voter registration nears as activists work to reach Chicago Latino community

Chicago Rep. Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia tapped to help Biden campaign

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ByCraig Wall via WLS logo
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Activists work to register Chicago Latino community to vote in 2020 election
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Activists are working to register the Chicago Latino community to vote ahead of the 2020 election.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With less than seven weeks until the election, political organizations and community groups are shifting into high gear in their efforts to get voters registered and get them to vote.

In Chicago's Latino community, there are some concerns about reaching voters and getting them energized.

Latinos now are the largest minority group of Illinois voters, making up 13% of the electorate.

"I have a concerns of voter turnout will not match our numbers or our strength," said Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum

Puente said she does not see a lot of enthusiasm for Joe Biden in the Latino community. She is also concerned about the pandemic's potential effect on voting.

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"So I think that, you know, real life economic issues and survival issues and health issues is where a lot of the community's attention is right now," Puente said.

COVID-19 has also drastically affected traditional get-out-the-vote efforts.

"A lot of it is going to shift virtually, so that means social media outreach, so posting a lot of things on our Facebook page. This means also doing some phone banking; that's in the plans coming up," said David Louridas, director of civic engagement for the Resurrection Project.

But groups like the Resurrection Project will be coming into the community, to hotspots for activity, like grocery stores, to hand out flyers. They'll also use tablets to get people registered to vote on the spot.

In an effort to attract younger voters, the Biden campaign is tapping former Bernie Sanders supporter, U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, as a chief surrogate.

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"I think that if we can emulate the type of outreach and engagement that Bernie Sanders did in the primary campaigns, that's how you motivate young people to get out there," said Garcia, D-Chicago.

Garcia and others are using virtual events to encourage people to take advantage of mail-in balloting and early voting.

"So you cannot win without the Latino vote. This will be a battleground to win the hearts and minds of Latino voters," Garcia said.

At the Resurrection Project, they are actually encouraged by the voter interest they are seeing.

"It has been heightened, of course, because of COVID, and because of some of the direct action of the current administration," Louridas said.

National Voter Registration Day is next Tuesday.