Financial Meltdown Linked to Latino Vote Turnout?

By Jonathan Adams Sep 22, 2008

By Public News Service A new national report from the Pew Hispanic Center finds "pessimism" is driving interest in the election, with 50 percent of Latinos declaring that their situations in the U.S. are worse now than one year ago. Attorney Jackson Chin, of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, says that sentiment had been building even before the nation’s financial woes, which have been linked to trouble in the housing market. Click here to download audio. "Subprime mortgage and the foreclosure rates are disproportionately impacting on Latinos and immigrant homeowners, as well as African-American homeowners, so there is that special impact on those people, as well." Last month, Chin says, Brooklyn alone saw 500 new citizens register to vote. He sees it as another sign that both Latino and "new citizen" turnout could be especially high in New York. The deadline to register is October 15 and, at this point, Chin recommends registering in person. Some polling places will have new voting machines, Chin explains, and this is also the first election in which new procedures are in place to match New York voter lists with a national database. He predicts this could cause confusion, which is one reason his office is working to educate voters. "Making sure people are going to get to the polls, know how to work those machines, know exactly how to be assisted, – if they are allowed to get assistance – and also making sure that vote is counted accurately." Chin says, because of the new procedures, even long-time voters may learn their names are missing from the rolls. If that happens, he adds, individual voters can assert their right to cast a provisional ballot. The Pew survey of 2,015 Latino U.S. residents can be viewed online, at Michael Clifford/Craig Eicher, Public News Service – NY