Chambers

Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce aims to increase Latino and minority voter turnout

Residentes votan durante el inicio de la votación presidencial anticipada en Florida, 24/10/2016. | EFE/ Giorgio Viera Residentes votan durante el inicio de la votación presidencial anticipada en Florida, 24/10/2016. | EFE/ Giorgio Viera

“We have the power to make a difference and to have a say in how this country is run. If you, we don’t go out and vote, someone else will make that decision for us,” said Martín Valadez, Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president.

PASCO, Washington. October 2, 2020 (NBC Right Now) — As the deadline to register to vote in Washington quickly approaches, a local community group is answering your questions. During this year’s primary vote, we had more overall voting than usual. The League of Women Voters said voter turn out in Benton and Franklin counties is usually around 30%.

This year, the Secretary of State website shows that Benton County had a voter turnout of about 54% and Franklin County saw a turnout of almost 49%. Now that the census is over, Martin Valadez with the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said they will focus more on voter registration. He said they are hoping the Latino and minority vote is a big turnout.

“We have the power to make a difference and to have a say in how this country is run. If you, we don’t go out and vote, someone else will make that decision for us,” Valadez said. He said all elections are important, but particularly this one. “There is a lot at stake that impacts not just the nation, but the Latino community in particular,” Valadez said.

He wants to make sure everyone goes out, registers to vote and makes their voice heard. He said a lot of changes have happened within the economy. Both health and COVID-19 have impacted the Latino community. “Latinos have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In particular, because many Latinos work as essential workers in fields, packing houses, in restaurants and grocery stores,” Valadez said. “They have to go work and also many of them can afford not to work.”

He said they do not have jobs that can be done at home. “And many of them unfortunately have not been able to access some resources,” Valadez said. With the deadline to register at the end of this month, the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will try to be at the farmers market to help people register. They also want to encourage people on their social media accounts.

“Lucky here, we have to mail-in ballots. It is really easy to do. You can drop it off at not necessarily at the post office. There are many places you can drop off the ballots and it’s free,” Valadez said. They not only hope to help people register, but hope that the people will actually vote afterwards too. “We just want to remind people that their voice matter,” Valadez said.

“It is just one vote, but one by one it adds to a lot. It can make a huge difference.” The deadline to register to vote online and by-mail is October 26th. For more information on how to register to vote, you can visit olvr.votewa.gov/.