Campaña Pro-Voto seeks to give local Hispanics a voice | NevadaAppeal.com

Campaña Pro-Voto seeks to give local Hispanics a voice

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal Maricela Ceballos, 21, registers to vote at the Sierra Bakery on Saturday as part of the Pro-Voto Campaña, designed to encourage local Hispanics to become involved in voting and community affairs.
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Some of the visitors to the Sierra Bakery on Saturday weren’t interested in the sweet treats behind the counter. They were there to make their voices heard.

The bakery served as the kickoff location for the Campaña Pro-Voto or Pro-Vote Campaign, designed to encourage local Hispanics to become involved in voting and community affairs.

That’s what got Maricela Ceballos, of Carson City, to the bakery. She wanted to register to vote and brought her father in to register as well.

“I wanted to come down and support everyone,” Ceballos said. “My dad came today and it’s beneficial for him because he feels more comfortable speaking in Spanish. This is really helpful to him.”

The event was organized by the Latino Parent Committee, Latino Americana Chamber of Commerce and League of United Latin American Citizens.

“We do this because it’s important to the community. In May we did a march to bring awareness and now by voting, the people have a voice,” said Elvira Diaz, bakery owner and league member.

By 1 p.m. the campaign had already registered more than a dozen people to vote, surpassing the group’s goal of 10 for the day.

“It’s a good start. We are working toward the political involvement of Hispanic American citizens,” Diaz said.

Saturday was the first event for the much larger campaign, which will include getting volunteers into neighborhoods to register Hispanic voters and present information on the candidates and races of the Nov. 7 general election.

Carson City Citizen Outreach Coordinator Javier Ramirez said voting is a way to give the increasing Hispanic population a say in how the state is run.

“It’s important, it’s vital for them to come out and vote,” Ramirez said. “It’s their civic duty but it also gives them power. The Hispanic community is waking up and wanting information about who are the candidates and what are the issues.”

The campaign begins just days after the U.S. Census Bureau released updated figures showing an increase in the Hispanic population in Nevada. While the general population of the state increased by 3.5 percent from 2004 to 2005, the Hispanic population increased by 6.8 percent statewide. The Hispanic population grew by 44 percent from 2000 to 2005, more than double the rate of the overall population.

Douglas County had one of the largest increases in the state at 26 percent. Numbers for Carson City have not been released.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.