Early voting is going strong at the Franklin County Board of Election Early Voting Center. More than 500 people an hour voted around lunchtime Friday, just days before the General Election.
There to send a message to a specific pocket of voters was a group that wanted to remind their community about what they called its obligation to vote.
The Ohio Hispanic Coalition wants to see U.S. citizen Latinos going to the poll this year because election after election the group’s executive director Josue Vicente has noticed the same thing happening time and time again.
“It seems like we’re not getting together as a Latino community,” said Vicente. “We’re always saying that we need to vote and we need to go and exercise our rights but we never really kind of show up to the polls in a group.”
He and the coalition are tried to change that this year by holding an event for Latinos to vote early together called Estamos Unidos, or We Are United.
It was all about civic responsibility and getting citizen Latinos to the polls to take part in this election, especially given recent events related to how the Latino population is being treated.
Vicente says, the group wanted to show there barriers that keep Latinos from the polls can be surmounted.
“A lot of the Latino community are afraid to go and vote, so we are creating this opportunity for them to show up today and saying this is a safe space,” said Vicente.
Only a handful of Latinos turned out for Friday’s event, but the group was undeterred; they had a message for those who couldn’t make it out and those that may take solace in that.
“Latinos do care about what is going on in the government. Not everyone is involved but that’s what we want to overcome. Everyone needs to be involved, everyone has that responsibility and that right and we want everyone no matter what party to be involved,” said Sarah Brown, a member of the group.
Brown and Vicente say they want all Latinos who are eligible to vote to do so, no matter what party they support.
“It’s our obligation as our citizens of the United States to get out and exercise our rights and make sure that we help elect the right candidates for the country, for the county, for the state, and local,” said Vicente.
For Election Day the coalition has lined up translators to be available at the following polling locations all day long:
- ARC Industries
6633 Doubletree Ave.
Columbus, OH 43229
- Stiles Elementary School
4700 Stiles Ave.
Columbus, OH 43228
- Living Hope
4142 Westerville Rd.
Columbus, OH 43224
- Saint Stephen the Martyr School
4131 Clime Rd.
Columbus, OH 43228