The Ohio Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs is pleased to announce a campaign to register 10,000 Ohio Latinos to vote by the 2012 elections. The campaign will kick off with the start of Hispanic Heritage Month September 15th and run through the end of Hispanic Heritage
Month next year. To reach our goal, we're partnering with the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, the Ohio Secretary of State and, we hope, dozens of student groups and community organizations. Letters and pledge forms to student groups and organizations around the state will issue this week.
Voting is the very heart of civic engagement and responsible citizenship. Historically, minorities such as Latinos have been politically marginalized and underrepresented. Over decades of struggle for election reform and civil rights many threshold obstacles for Latino voters have been cleared. Now it's up to the community to do its part. With a burgeoning population and dynamic growth in integration and achievement in education, business and politics, now is the time for Ohio's Latinos to harness their formidable political clout.
The 2011 general election on November 8 is as important a non-congressional election as any in Ohio's history. Voters will decide the fate of the controversial Senate Bill 5 - which strangles public employee collective bargaining - decide whether to amend Ohio's Constitution to reject the healthcare mandate in President Obama's healthcare reform law, and decide on the appropriate age limit for Ohio's judges. These are in addition to many local issues that may be on the ballot. Last week we took a brief look at Senate Bill 5. In the coming weeks we'll look at the other statewide issues on the ballot.
As the key to unlocking such a powerful privilege, voter registration is incredibly simple. OCHLA has bilingual forms, and they take all of 45 seconds to fill out. The information will be kept safe and confidential. All completed forms are sealed and safely placed on a box which will be delivered to the Secretary of State. It is not a tedious project, and it need not feel like one. Any event can be a terrific opportunity to register voters - after church, at luncheons, community events and festivals, or anywhere else! If you're part of an organization or a service ministering to Latinos, and you think you can help Ohio's Latinos register to vote, please contact me. Help Ohio's Latino community empower itself!