Latino community leaders in Grand Island say people want to vote, but they need to know how. A bilingual voter workshop guided them through them the process of registration, and beyond.
Grand Island Multicultural Coalition leader Carlos Barcenas: "We're putting it out for a diverse community, and when I say diverse, I mean people who might be citizens, but they never really had much contact with...the laws. Maybe, new, young people who want to try it, and get involved."
Barcenas says that the registration process can be complicated, and wants to help: "More and more there is information in different languages. More and more is more available. ...We still have a few things to work through."
Workshop participants learned not only about voter registration; they also received pamphlets about their rights, learned about the legislative process, and about the bills currently under consideration in the state legislature.
Yolanda Chavez Nuncio of the Grand Island Area Latino American Commission commented on the situation: "Many times people don't realize that you can take somebody with you, you can take an interpreter in with you when you actually go to vote."
Knowing about the registration process and the resources available is important if more Latino-American community members are to be elected to state office in Nebraska.
Lazaro Spindola of the Nebraska State Legislature Latino-American Commission detailed the low count: "Right now there is only one Latino elected official throughout the state of Nebraska, and that's in the Board of Education, the State Board of Education."
Workshop leaders are seeking high voter participation, and say legislators are right to consider the full consequences of new laws.
Lazaro Spindola: "This proposed ID Law, LB239, is a law that that has the potential to create barriers to low income people, or to elderly citizens who might have trouble having an ID, or having a driver's license because they don't drive. And I believe that any bill that might potentially interfere with our basic right for voting should be considered very carefully, and I believe the legislature is doing so right now."