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Rock The Vote's Back With A New Focus: Young Latinos Ahead Of Midterm Elections

The venerable organization has decided being hip means going after twentysomethings — which increasingly means a focus on young Latino voters.

Posted on June 23, 2014, at 10:08 a.m. ET

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The voter mobilization group Rock the Vote is setting its eye on young Latinos in the coming months as organizers step up efforts to register newly eligible voters ahead of the upcoming midterm elections, the organization's leader first told BuzzFeed.

The quarter-century-old nonprofit, known for enlisting the likes of Madonna and Snoop Dogg to draw young Americans to the political process, has partnered with nonpartisan Voto Latino, which itself focuses on registering young Latinos. The new partnership is part of a broader relaunch campaign to boost turnout among twentysomethings, which hopes to entice upwards of 100,000 young Latinos to show up at the polls this November.

"You have 60,000 Latinos turning 18 each month and they are a huge part of the millennial generation, which happens to be the largest generation in our country's history," Rock the Vote President Ashley Spillane told BuzzFeed.

She said the connection with Voto Latino is about leveraging the strengths of each organization to reach this oft-targeted group of young Hispanics.

Organizers are hoping to have the most impact in states that have enacted restrictive voter identification laws that make it difficult for new immigrants to vote and states that have sizable populations of unregistered voters whose participation could sway election results.

The efforts are part of a larger campaign intended to enlist up to 1.5 million new voters for November. Like others in the past, the campaign will rely on partnerships with big names in technology, art, and the television, film, and music industries.

A crucial feature of this year's campaign, organizers say, is a newly launched, mobile-optimized website along with social media offerings. Spillane said the organizations can only succeed if they are meeting young people where they are, which is online.

"You have 60% of young people who are online and connected away from their homes, so it's really important to us that they're able to access all the information they need and be able to register using their phones," she said.

For its part, Voto Latino said that in some states in the Southwest like California and Texas, millennials already make up a sizable portion, one-third, of Latino voters.

This is the first time that someone has launched such a large effort to target Latino millennials online, Voto Latino spokeswoman Yándary Zavala said.