Duval County Task Force Aims To Register 30,000 Hispanic Voters This Year

Jan 22, 2016

A sign advertises a voter-registration drive at the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce in Jacksonville on Sat., Jan. 16.
Credit Ashton Elder

A recently formed task force is trying to register Duval County Hispanic voters ahead of this year’s elections. The group kicked off its efforts at the Jacksonville Landing last Saturday.


Upbeat music blasted from the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce office as businessmen and women talked in Spanish and English.

The group gathered was part of the new task force comprised of several Hispanic community leaders. They’re planning several more voter-registration events, with the goal of adding 30,000 new voters to the rolls by the November election and as many as possible by the March primary.

According to Pew research, the Hispanic vote is becoming increasingly important, especially in Florida, a swing state where the white vote tends to be split evenly along party lines.

Task force advisor Wilfredo Gonzalez says the coalition is very aware of the impact the Hispanic vote could have.

“Having primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire — I mean, how many minorities do you see in that area? So that’s why I don’t get as excited as people do when they talk about what’s happening up there.  I mean, wait until they come down here,” he says.

Another leader on the nonpartisan task force is Leon Carrero, an environmental geologist who has been active within the Hispanic community in Northeast Florida for more than 15 years. He says the group formed in July when a group of community leaders decided to act on what they see as a lack of representation by Hispanics in city politics. Their goals then expanded beyond the city borders.

The group includes members from the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the mayor’s Hispanic-American advisory board, Northeast Florida Hispanic Medical Association and the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce.