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Hispanic Federation is Building Latino Political Power in Florida

The first presidential primaries are just around the corner. As the country gears up for raucous and uncertain election cycle, all eyes will be on Florida. The Sunshine State will not only be a much sough-after prize during the primaries but also will be the site of battles between Democrats and Republicans during the general election. More than 4.5 million Latinos live in Florida and approximately 1.7 million of them are registered to vote.

Hispanic Federation has made voter registration a top priority for its newly-established office in Orlando, Florida. As part of its Movimiento Hispano initiative, HF has been leading a series of voter registration initiatives across Central Florida. Movimiento Hispano is a multipronged campaign that focuses on Latino voter registration, GOTV, and issue-specific campaigning. While the initiative is focused on all of the state’s Latinos, HF is paying special attention to the more than one million Puerto Ricans now living in Florida. Many of these new Floridians are eligible to vote but haven’t registered.

In October of last year, HF held its first Movimiento Hispano voter registration drive at Valencia College's Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in Kissimmee. And earlier this month HF hosted voter registration events at the Three Kings celebration at Plaza del Sol, Kissimmee and the two-day Fiesta San Sebastian en Orlando.

“Florida is changing dramatically,” said HF Florida Director Zoe Colón. “Movimiento Hispano is really about having the political landscape in the state reflect the changing demographics. Central Florida, with its booming Puerto Rican population, offers us an opportunity to increase Latino political power quickly,” she added.

In addition to its voter registration efforts, HF has been working closely with the University of Central Florida to engage Latino student organizations and faculty in civics and voter turnout initiatives. In addition, HF is partnering with Latino community-based organizations to carry out our civic engagement campaigns.

“We’re really excited about the work Zoe and her team are doing in Forida,” said HF President José Calderón. “We know that the Latino vote is going to be critically important this election year and nowhere is that more true than in Florida. I’m confident that our voter registration, GOTV and education efforts will go a long way toward making sure that Latino voices are heard.”