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Coalition of Idaho nonprofits launches bilingual voter guide

Shown in Spanish are "He Votado Hoy" stickers or "I Voted Today" at a polling place in Philadelphia, Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
Matt Rourke
Shown in Spanish are "He Votado Hoy" stickers or "I Voted Today" at a polling place in Philadelphia, Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

A coalition of Idaho nonprofits that worked to boost Latino participation in the 2020 census is now turning its attention to voter education ahead of the May 17 primary election.

Contamos Idaho, which means “We Count Idaho,” is made up of several organizations, including the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, PODER of Idaho, and the Conservation Voters for Idaho, where Antonio Hernandez works as a civic engagement coordinator.

“People are experiencing real barriers when they try to vote, and a lot of it is based on information that may or may not be available in a way that they can use it," Hernandez said.

One of the most common questions he gets in his outreach work is where people should go to vote. So, Contamos launched a new bilingual website with basic voting information, such as how to check your voter registration and how to vote by mail.

Idaho’s Latino community is growing, making up about 13% of the state’s population. But registration and voting rates tend to be lower among Idaho Latinos, especially in off-year elections, according to a report from the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs.

“For Idaho to have a healthy democracy, that means we include all our voters," Hernandez said. "It’s supposed to be a government for the people, by the people, so the more people that can vote, turn out, we think it’s overall better for Idaho.”

Hernandez said if Spanish-speaking voters have questions about voting, they can call the telephone number on the Contamos website.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

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I cover environmental issues, outdoor recreation and local news for Boise State Public Radio. Beyond reporting, I contribute to the station’s digital strategy efforts and enjoy thinking about how our work can best reach and serve our audience. The best part of my job is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

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