Midland County Republicans are calling on residents to wake up their voices Saturday at a voter registration event featuring Sen. Ted Cruz.
The second annual "Despierta Tu Voz" will take place from 5 to 10 p.m. at Centennial Plaza. With less than half of eligible voters casting ballots, the event will focus on mobilizing the Hispanic community to take part in the political process, said event organizer Charlene Romero McBride.
"That's an issue that has always been with the Hispanic community," Romero McBride said.
The event lineup includes state Rep. Stefani Carter, of the Dallas area, Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, Texas Republican National Committeeman Robin Armstrong, Republican Party of Texas' David Zapata and New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez.
"We have some very very good elected officials who do care about our people," said Rhonda Lacy, president of the Midland County Republican Women, noting that leaders met with event participants and all of the vendors last year. "They listen to every message because it gives them direction in how they want to represent."
Lacy said the free event is also a good opportunity to spread the Republican message to people who traditionally may not understand it. She said former state Rep. Aaron Pena, of South Texas, will be on hand to talk about why he decided the Republican party was a better fit for his values and switched political parties.
Former Midland City Councilwoman Vicky Hailey also recently joined the Republican party.
"It was time for a change," said Hailey, who is helping organize the event for the first time this year.
"Despierta Tu Voz" will give Midlanders the chance to ask political leaders questions in a one-on-one setting, which will help the event's larger goal, Hailey said.
"We wanted to make sure that when people cast their votes, they make a well-informed decision," she said, noting that the Hispanic population historically has a lower voter turnout.
A Hispanic trends project by the Pew Research Center found that Texas had 4.2 million eligible Hispanic voters -- the second largest eligible voter population nationally -- during the 2012 election. But the voting rate for Hispanics during the same election was only 48 percent -- lower than African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites at 66.2 percent and 64.1 percent, respectively, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In addition to having the opportunity to register to vote, participants can expect music by Destino, food, games and crafts, a mini health care fair and car show.
(c)2013 the Midland Reporter-Telegram (Midland, Texas)
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Original Headline: Sen. Ted Cruz to visit Midland for voter registration event
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