Spanish-language media urges Latinos to vote

AP News
Posted: Oct 22, 2010 6:18 PM
Spanish-language media urges Latinos to vote

Spanish-language media is revving up a massive get-out-the-vote campaign to ensure the nation's Hispanics wield their clout at the polls.

The move follows a Latino Republican group's airing of an ad in Nevada urging Hispanic voters to sit out Senate and congressional races because of Congress' failure to enact immigration reform. Hispanic leaders were outraged, and Democrats called the ad a dirty trick as Hispanic voters tend to vote Democratic. The ad was pulled from the air by the nation's largest Spanish-language media company Univision.

On Friday, Univision was taping a sit-down interview in its Los Angeles studios with President Barack Obama. Interviewer and radio host Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo played a major role in encouraging thousands of marchers to protest a harsh immigration bill in 2006. The show will air Monday.

Univision is also planning to promote its "Ya es hora" (The time is now) get-out-the-vote campaign all day Tuesday, across its TV, radio and internet holdings. The programs will feature the network's top stars.

Meanwhile, also on Friday, Telemundo Network unveiled its "Tu Voto, Tu Futuro," (Your Vote, Your Future) campaign to encourage viewers to cast their ballots.

Telemundo has framed its political coverage around three issues: the economy, immigration and education. In the final days before the election, it plans to press politicians on these themes and how they would affect Latinos, who make up 9 percent of eligible voters.

The company will also follow a series of families across the country as they prepare to cast their votes and will feature groups of university students discussing what issues are most important to them.

Telemundo Executive Vice President Ramon Escobar said the media needs to hold ordinary people, not just politicians, accountable.

"One of the responsibilities of belonging to civic society is to vote," he said.

Following the election through the eyes of a few families made sense because of the importance of family in the Hispanic culture, Escobar explained. "It's much more relatable than just covering the horse race of the candidates," he added.

Both companies have beefed up election coverage this year, hosting or co-hosting candidate debates in states with large Hispanic populations.


Associated Press Writer Cristina Silva in Las Vegas contributed to this report.