Encouraging 1st Time Latino Voters in Reno

Karolina Rivas and Kaitlyn Olvera report about an initiative on voting day trying to get more Latinos to take part in Nevada’s crucial midterm election.

 PLAN organizers say that this midterm election is crucial, and they want to rally as many Latinos as they can to vote, so they held a “Serenata for First Time Voters” today on voting day, November 6.


A Mariachi Band Getting out the Vote


There are a number of ways to encourage others to cast their ballot this midterm election, and for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) — a mariachi band serenading first time voters as they march to the polls, is their best bet.


With Latinos accounting for nearly 30 percent of the Nevada’s population, 17 percent of those people are eligible voters, according to recent studies.


40-year-old Eloy Jara, a first-time voter who immigrated from Mexico, says his children inspired him to register.


“My kids have always asked me, ‘How come I don’t vote on election day?’ I said ‘Because I’m not a citizen’ and they ask me ‘Oh, you’re not like us dad?’ And I said ‘Yeah, I am like you,’” Jara said. “They say, ‘Why don’t you go vote because I can vote when I turn 18?’ That’s when I decided to become a citizen and be part of the democratic process.”


 Activists, musicians and first time voters came together for the get out the vote event.


First Time Voters Making a Difference


Another first time voter who came to the U.S. from Mexico City nearly 30 years ago, says that voting can really make a difference.


“I just want to make sure that my voice is heard and that they see that we are here and we have the power to shape our own future,” said 53-year-old Mario DelaRosa.


DelaRosa says he hopes Republicans lose control of the Senate this midterm election, with a key Senate race taking place in Nevada. However, DelaRosa says whether his party wins or loses, it’s important that voters voice their concerns about the current administration.


“My prediction is that they are going to do the same thing, no matter what. But we voters are making a statement this midterm election. You are not doing a good job, we don’t like what you are doing, we want change and that’s what we say today. We don’t want to repeat the next two years,” DelaRosa said.


 Bob Fulkerson, the State Director of PLAN, says this is the time for Latino voters to head to the polls, as they are an imperative part of the community and can really make a difference.


Getting a Strong Latino Turnout


“We are here to really pay our respects and honor first time immigrant, Latino voters,” Bob Fulkerson with PLAN said. “In a democracy that depends on people voting and taking part in the civic affairs of their community, and our state, our nation. It is a cause for celebration,” he said.


The PLAN Director says he has hopes that there will be a strong turnout among Latino voters.


“The fearlessness and the courage that immigrant voters are showing is really healthy for this country. We are really glad they’re here and want to do everything we can to celebrate them,” he said.


Reporting and Photos by Karolina Rivas and Kaitlyn Olvera for the Reynolds Sandbox
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