Latino Voter Drive; Time Left For Procrastinators
As candidates hustle for voters' support, interest groups are working to drum up numbers of their own, with voter registration drives. The deadline is tomorrow.
Martin Torres has been all over Chicago lately, holding voter registration events. It's the Latino Policy Forum's goal to sign up 5,000 voters.
He says Latinos make up 16-percent of the state's population, but the community's political influence hasn't kept up.
"It's not just our vote, but representing the interest of those who aren't able to vote; many of us have friend and family who are in that position," Torres says. "So those of us that are in a position to vote ... it makes it extremely important that we do so."
A coalition of organizations, including the Latino Policy Forum, announced in Chicago today hat they had collectively registered 100,000 Illinois residents (mainly in Cook County) to vote as part of the "Every Vote Counts" movement.
Torres says the Policy Forum is still registering people using the traditional method: by hand. That way, his group can keep tabs on the newly registered voters, and encourage them to cast a ballot Nov. 4.
But for the first time this year (to the disdain of critics concerned about preserving the integrity of the process, and to the joy of get-out-the-vote groups) voters can register to vote online. All that entails is going to the State Board of Elections website and providing information like name, address, the last four digits of a social security number, and a driver's license number.
Even though elections officials encourage that to be done by the Oct. 7 deadline, procrastinators have options. Grace period registration and voting starts the very next day, and runs longer than ever before: up to, and including, Election Day. Those who are registered don't have to wait until then to vote; absentee ballots can be obtained without giving a reason. Also, early voting begins Oct. 20.
Look for the already-prolific campaign ads and candidate appearances to ramp up even earlier, and run right through the election on Nov. 4.