Ketchum Hosts Latino Voter Registration Drive Wednesday 

click to enlarge SAMI EDGE
  • Sami Edge
The mountain resort city of Ketchum is holding a Latino voter registration drive Wednesday, inviting residents to add their names to the rolls as part of Latino Voter Registration Month in Blaine County. 

A tent staffed by election workers will be pitched near the Ernest Hemingway Elementary School and, while the effort is geared toward Latinos, any eligible voter may register.

The Blaine County voting effort feeds into a larger trend toward growing political engagement among Idaho Latinos—a group whose increasing share of population in the Gem State is not reflected in its elected officeholders.

"There's a huge power gap when it comes to voting in Idaho," said Terri Sterling, executive director of ICAN. "[But] there are many more eligible Latinos than actually register."

click to enlarge Ruby Mendez: “If our legislators and state representatives don’t know what our concerns are, then we’re doing a disservice to others and to ourselves. We cannot make change if we don’t express our vote.” - SAMI EDGE
  • Sami Edge
  • Ruby Mendez: “If our legislators and state representatives don’t know what our concerns are, then we’re doing a disservice to others and to ourselves. We cannot make change if we don’t express our vote.”
There are approximately 80,000 eligible Latino voters in Idaho, but turnout has been historically low in prior elections. There's every reason those numbers will grow significantly—and sooner than later. According to the most recent census, there are 75,000 Latinos in Idaho under the age of 18, nearly as many as there are current eligible voters.

"If our legislators and state representatives don't know what our concerns are, then we're doing a disservice to others and to ourselves," said Ruby Mendez, who helps push voter registration efforts for ICAN. "We cannot make change if we don't express our vote."

Latino Voter Registration month in Blaine County ends Oct. 15, but Ketchum city officials said the effort to expand the franchise to every citizen is ongoing. 

"Voting by all is fundamental to healthy, democratic elections," said Ketchum Mayor Nina Jonas, announcing Wednesday's Latino voter registration drive.
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