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Q&A: Voto Latino's Maria Teresa Kumar on the voting power of U.S.-born Latinos

Photo by buschap/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A bilingual after-voting sticker, February 2008

No one is more familiar with the power of the Latino vote, considered pivotal in tomorrow's midterm election, than the organizations working to get Latino voters to the polls.

Unlike some groups that focus outreach efforts on Spanish-dependent immigrants, Voto Latino focuses on younger Latinos who are U.S-born and English-dependent, employing popular culture and social media in its outreach. The nonprofit was co-founded in 2004 by actress/activist Rosario Dawson and its executive director, Maria Teresa Kumar. Since then the organization has registered tens of thousands of voters.

Born in Colombia, Kumar has been named by PODER Magazine as one of the most notable 20 U.S. Hispanics under 40 years old. She is a political contributor to MSNBC and has also appeared on CNN’s AC 360 and American Morning, NPR, Telemundo and CNBC.

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Voto Latino's Rosario Dawson on the Patt Morrison show

This afternoon's Patt Morrison show on 89.3 KPCC will feature an interview with Rosario Dawson, the actress who in 2004 co-founded Voto Latino, a non-partisan voter outreach organization that targets young Latinos, in particular those who are U.S.-born and English-dominant.

In the years since, the group has registered more than 35,000 voters, combining pop culture, politics and social media in its outreach. The 31-year-old actress-activist and New York native (whose ethnicity is described in the Internet Movie Database as including Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, Native American and Irish heritage) has been appearing in films since she was a teenager, with prominent roles in feature films that include the film version of the Broadway musical "Rent," "Clerks II" and "Sin City."

Dawson will talk about last-minute efforts to get Latino voters to the polls and the top issues they face in this midterm election year, including immigration and the economy. The show airs at 1 p.m., with the interview scheduled to air between 2:20 and 2:30 p.m.

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