Rosario Dawson Gets Attention of Young, Tech-Savvy Latino Voters

Voto Latino co-founder and actress Rosario Dawson, second from right, and Voto Latino executive director Maria Teresa Kumar are getting Latinos mobilized to register to vote with text messages. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) (National Journal)

A single text to young, tech-savvy Latino voters revved up their participation at the polls, according to Voto Latino, a nonpartisan civics organization founded by popular TV star Rosario Dawson and Maria Teresa Kumar.

In a Fast Company article profiling the 100 most influential people in business, Kumar said that young Latinos heeded the call to hit the polls when they wree urged to vote through text messages. "By simply sending young Latinos texts on Election Day, participation increased close to 8 percent," she said, according to the article.

Dawson said she often asks young people during voter-registration events why they did not vote before. "The response is often, 'No one asked us.' It's not about telling people what to do; it's about sharing what they can do," she said, according to the article.

With less than three months to go until Election Day, many organizations are using technology to get young voters to the polls. While Latinos are less likely than whites to have Internet at home, they continue to be connected via their mobile phones, a 2011 Pew Hispanic Center study found.

The Obama campaign released a smartphone app to connect to Latinos. It provides information on when and where to vote, voter-identification laws, and information on issues such as education, taxes, and health care, according to a story on Más Wired.

Numbers at a glance:

  • In 2008, approximately 9 million Latinos voted, about 7.4 percent of the total votes casted in the November elections. In 2010, more than 6.6 million Latinos cast ballots — a record-high for a midterm election but still a fraction of the 21.3 million eligible Latino voters that year, according to a Pew Hispanic Center study.
  • Approximately 50 percent of eligible Latino voters are under age 40; about 33 percent are between 18 and 34.
  • Latinos make up more than 10 percent of the electorate in 11 states.