Osceola County

Community leaders in Osceola County working to register Latino voters for upcoming primary

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Community leaders in Osceola County are fighting against the clock to get more Latinos registered to vote.

Those groups are pushing to make sure Latinos, especially those who don’t speak English, know how critical next month’s primary election is.

In order to participate in the primary on Aug. 23, voters need to be signed up by July 25.

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Nearly 60% of the residents in Osceola County are Hispanic and many of them aren’t completely fluent in English.

The goal of Hablamos Espanol Florida, a Central Florida nonprofit, is to not let that be a barrier to casting their votes and knowing what exactly they’re voting for, and understanding what’s going on in their community.

“It’s important for our community to understand their power,” said Ericka Gomez-Tejeda of Hablamos Espanol Florida. “It’s not just about voting two times a year. It’s really about understanding how everything that involves our lives is impacted by politics.”

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Hablamos Espanol Florida helped the community during the pandemic to translate information for vaccine rollout with their campaign “vacunate con fe.”

Their latest effort is called “vota con fe” or vote with faith.

Nancy Batista with Poder Latinx is teaming up with the group to help register the community to vote before the end of the month.

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“At the end of the day, we need to be seen as a unity and not divided,” said Batista. “We’re trying to make sure people understand the importance of registering for a party.”

The supervisor of elections office said, right now, out of nearly 248,000 voters, roughly 92,000 don’t belong to a party.

Batista said this is partially due to all those who moved here after Hurricane Maria who checked “no party affiliation.”

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Batista believes many just didn’t understand either party and ultimately missed out on the chance to vote in the primaries.

“The lack of education when it comes between the different parties,” Batista added. “For example, in Puerto Rico, the colors are different than they are here. So there needs to be more investment in our community.”

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