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Effort to push Latinos to the polls this election season launches in Phoenix

It’s estimated that Latinos make up half of all potential voters in the U.S. who came of age since the last presidential election.

A nonpartisan effort to encourage more Latinos to vote is underway in Phoenix. Latino Loud is a campaign of local nonprofit Chicanos Por La Causa and the organization’s Sí Se Vota Action Fund.

“We’re gonna be putting on free concerts, make them family-friendly, get people involved,” said Joseph Garcia with Chicanos Por La Causa.

The campaign’s focus will be on newer voters, he said, like young people and newly naturalized citizens through social media and events like concerts with partners like Grita. Canta. Vota., a grassroots campaign that centers on music.

At a kickoff event for Latino Loud on Wednesday, Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said Latinos from countries that have faced unrest should have a unique understanding of how important elections are.

“Because we know in our collective storytelling what it is like to lose a democracy. We've seen what happens in Cuba, in Venezuela, in Chile and across Latin America,” said Fontes. “When we end up with leaders who would choose to take and keep power instead of maintaining the power in our people and to maintain the power in our people, our people must vote. Our people must participate and express that power. This is what Latino Loud is about.”

The matter, Fontes said, is urgent.

“We are on the verge of being another one of those Latin American countries that might have a leader that decides that they just don’t want to give up power,” he said. “What happened on January 6 was not political. It was not R's versus D's. It was a certain small group of people moving against your vote, regardless of your party. They were moving against your voice, your business, your science, your arts, your culture, your education, your health care.”

Fontes said he stands with any organization that registers voters, and pushes back on what he referred to as lies and conspiracy theories.

Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.