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Largest Latino civil rights group rallies Austin voters

Gigi Barnett


Oct 13, 2016

screengrab of KXAN Video

Nearly half of Latino voters are millennials, who want candidates to engage them. Credit: KXAN

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Less than four weeks until voters head to the polls and Central Texas Latinos are making a major push to get as many Hispanics out to the ballot box.

The nation’s largest civil rights group for Latinos is hosting a rally and round table discussion among Austin voters Thursday. The National Council of La Raza said political parties aren’t courting the Hispanic vote.

The group’s president Janet Murguia will host a panel on the low voter outreach at Southwest Key Programs on 6002 Jain Lane at 10 a.m. Southwest Key Programs is an Austin-based chapter of NCLR.

In a recent poll among nearly 4,000 registered Latino voters, 60 percent said that no campaign, political party or community organization asked them to vote or register to vote over the past few months.

The poll also discovered:

83% of Latino voters said they are “absolutely certain” that they will cast a ballot come November. 76% said they feel it is “more important” to vote this year, compared to the last presidential election in 2012. 44% of the nation’s record 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters are Millennials. In Texas, about five million Hispanic voters are eligible to cast a ballot this election cycle. Many of them are millennials, said Southwest Key Programs President Juan Sanchez.

Sanchez said candidates from all political parties will have to appeal to voters under 30 because they make up the largest portion of the Hispanic electorate.

The rally also featured a round table discussion that features representatives from the Democrat, Republican, Green and Libertarian parties. Southwest Key invited newly-registered college and high school voters. They were encouraged to ask how each party will engage Latino Millennial voters.

Sanchez said one reason why candidates aren’t focused on the Hispanic vote is because of low voter turnout in the past, especially among younger voters.

“Historically Latinos have not been given too much credit and I think this year we’re going to see a tremendous amount of voters coming and saying we’re taking a vote, we’re making a decision,” said Sanchez. “We’re going to influence the way the politicians of this state and this country are affected.”