Civil rights group works to get out Latino vote, inform voters of changes

DES MOINES — An Iowa civil rights organization used the final day before Election Day on Monday to encourage Latino voters to head to the polls today. The Iowa chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens is reminding Iowans of changes to voting laws that went into effect last year.

LULAC political director Joe Henry says some of the changes will make it harder for the Latino community to participate in the midterm elections.  “We are reminding our community members that the polls close early at eight o’clock instead of nine o’clock,” Henry says. “That is a problem for those who work a late night shift or a double shift, so we’re very concerned about that.”

LULAC has sued the state over many of the voting changes, saying it will disproportionately impact the working class and people of color, but Henry says he still expects a large turnout, especially from younger Latino voters.  “This is a state that was built by immigrants,” Henry says. “We need to support immigrants. We need to support diversity. We need to make sure that people have the right to vote and that there’s no roadblocks to that.”

There are 80,000 registered Latino voters in the state, according to Henry, with the majority residing in Polk, Woodbury and Scott counties. Henry says issues like health care and education are priorities for the community this election cycle.