Across the Rio Grande Valley… several booths are set up to help folks register to vote. One gentlemen is the first in line… and says he’s registering for the first time.
“Just recently, I became a U.S. citizen, four months ago,” says Jose Alfaro, a new voter.
Alfaro is part of the growing hispanic demographic… a demographic that dominates the Valley.
“The Hispanic community is becoming quickly the largest community in Texas, so this is a historical moment. In the past our communities have been in a less important position, now they are in an important position,” says Michael Seifert, from the Equal Voice Network.
But while Hidalgo county voter turn out during the primaries was high… community groups like “Equal Voice” and “Arise” believe it could be better. So they are hitting the streets… trying to tap into the untapped vote.
“The list that we have here is the people who never vote and it’s the people who need help to understand, and we explain to them. why you not voting? do you need transportation, do you need more information?” asks Ramona Casa from Arise.
Some of the people were already registered… but many weren’t. The reasons varied as to why… but for each person… Arise explained in a strictly non-partisan way… their voting options.
When they find someone dedicated to voting, they give them a card, they call it mi compromiso. What they do is they have them fill their name and their address on it, and when it comes time to vote Arise sends the card back to the person so they can read in their own handwriting why they wanted to vote.
That reminder is something Alfaro agrees with… he thinks the public needs to identify with what they want from their government…. especially if they want to see change.
“The more obstacles they put, the more we need to vote,” says Alfaro.
Voter registration in Hidalgo county increased by 25 percent from 2008 to 2010… but equal voice and arise say only 100 percent is acceptable.