Immigrants have a lot at stake in this year’s presidential election… And a new smartphone app is aiming to help Latinos get out and vote on election day.
Voter turnout will be critical this year.
Traditionally fewer Latino voters, especially Latino youths, have gone to the polls than other groups.
Members of the Latino community are hoping this new app will help reshape the upcoming election.
The difficulty in engaging young voters is nothing new– but a new app may help solve this problem.
“It will help enhance participation, turn out and excitement about the elections, especially now at such an important time when so much is a stake for the Latino community,” said Mireya Reith with the NWA Immigrant Resource Center in Springdale.
This new app is called Unidos: The Next Generation of American Voters.
“For us, this is a tremendously important advancement, because we know that our Latino community, the primary way that they’re connecting with the internet, and in many ways connecting with the world is through their smart phones,” said Reith.
The app uses a mix of news and useful information combined with shareable content in both Spanish and English, such as Emojis to draw in younger users, which translates to more Latino youth at the polls.
Oprah Eknar is 19 years old and a member of the Latino community, she says finding political information in Spanish is the biggest challenge to Latino youth trying to stay informed, and is why voter turn out is so low.
“They don’t have an understanding of what really is going on, or where to vote, or how to register. There’s just no help for them,” said Eknar.
Reith believes that Northwest Arkansas could stand to be one of the places most benefited by using the Unidos app.
“We have about 40,000 active Latino voters, our goal is actually about 80,000 for this coming year, and where we think this is possible is, because of all of the Latino youth who are turning 18 years old and are citizens will be voting for the first time in this election,” said Reith.
The Unidos app is free and only available for iPhones.
In addition to downloading the app you can also attend Latino and Asian vote training next Saturday at the NWA immigrant resource center from 1:00 to 6:00 PM.