The Lee County Elections office is reaching out to the Hispanic and Latino communities. It’s partnering with the nonpartisan political action committee The Hispanic Vote to educate potential and current voters. Voting seminars have begun.
Only about a handful of people came to the Hispanic voter education seminar this past rainy Saturday for discussions and a mock election. Event coordinators said the turnout was about the same at the earlier launch on Wednesday.
Although not many people showed up, Carmen Salome, who’s from Puerto Rico and currently living in Cape Coral, said she’s encouraged to see the outreach.
"I’ve been here 14 years, so this is the first time seeing something like this targeting the Hispanic voter," said Salome. "And I just would like to see more of this and more community participation."
Lee County has 42,555 registered Hispanic voters. But during last year’s general election, fewer than 60 percent of them actually voted. Salome said they could make a difference.
"If indeed they did go out, we could actually impact a local election" said Salome.
Rafael Lopez, state chair for The Hispanic Vote, said that’s a big takeaway from his presentation: participate in local elections.
"If you have kids in school or if you pay taxes in this county you need to know who your school board members are. You need to know who all these people are that are spending your money and what they’re doing with it. And you need to let ‘em know how you want it spent," said Lopez.
The Lee County Elections office said because the Hispanic community did not come to the office, the office will go to them for future voter education.