Effort to sign up Hispanic voters in SWLR
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Immigration is one of the pivotal issues of this year’s presidential election, and the people who know the good and the bad of our immigration system want to make sure their opinion counts.
Arkansas United Community Coalition, a non-profit that serves minority groups around the state, held a voter registration drive at Neveria Tino, an ice cream store in southwest Little Rock, Thursday evening. Several people registered to vote for the first time.
“I became a citizen, and I want to exercise my vote here in the US after 30 years,” Ricarda Santos said.
Leticia Reta, a volunteer with AUCC, helped people fill out the form. Spanish was the first language for most of the people who registered Thursday.
“The form is very easy,” Reta stated. “There are few questions, personal questions. And we’re just going, telling them what to do.”
Santos lived in California for 15 years before moving to Little Rock. After earning her US citizenship last year, voting became an important responsibility, “because I want to exercise my right,” she said, “and to support all of my Hispanic community.”
She is part of the fast-growing Hispanic immigrant community in southwest Little Rock, which has followed all the businesses that have moved to our area.
“They’re bringing more jobs, more opportunities, more economy,” Reta explained. “So it’s growing pretty fast.”
Reta has volunteered for voter drives the last three elections, and said she has been very active the last three months. “It’s very slowly, but we’ve been in high schools, we’ve been in churches, we’ve been in different places around town. Yeah, we’re getting there.”
Santos was bothered by Donald Trump’s meeting with Mexico’s president earlier in the week, saying he had insulted Mexicans too many times. She thinks Trump is responsible for making many immigrants want to register.
“I think so, because I have heard colleagues and work friends that want to vote, that don't want Donald Trump to win,” she stated.
“No matter for who you want to vote, just come and register, because it’s a very tough election this year,” Reta added. “So make your voice count, make your vote count.”
Arkansas United Community Coalition has 10 registration drives going right now for Hispanic and Asian immigrants. Reta mentioned that the group’s say they have a goal of helping 2,000 immigrants register to vote this fall, and hope to see 50,000 cast ballots in November.