LNN Spotlight: Supporting A Diverse Electorate

Belén Dumont, RI Latino News

On this episode of LNN Spotlight, Reporter/Editor Belén Dumont speaks with Rhode Island Secretary of State Gregg Amore and Director of Elections Kathy Placencia about upcoming election deadlines, state-wide efforts to increase civic engagement, and the potential voter power of the state’s diverse Latino electorate.

Voter registration rates across Rhode Island have continually increased since the 1970s while the number of ballots cast remains steady. Secretary Amore and Director Placencia shared about efforts to mobilize potential voters and increase voting accessibility including bilingual informational campaigns, expanding early voting hours, and a new law that allows 17-years-olds to participate in Rhode Island primaries. 

About 17% of Rhode Island’s population currently identifies as Hispanic or Latino. As these communities expand every year—outpacing the growth of all other ethnic/racial groups—a young Latino electorate continually grows. 

“I think the Latino community and their voting power is here to stay,” Secretary Amore told RI Latino News. “Every elected official I know pays attention to that and understands that this is a growing community and a diverse community.”

Secretary Amore shared about the importance of civically informing and engaging students and how the Department of State collaborates with schools. 

A new initiative, The Student Civic Liaison Program, is composed of 89 high school students across the state who meet with community, educational, and governmental leaders to discuss “how to access the government and how we can make an impact.” 

Director Placencia and Secretary Amore brought up the increase of Latino representation among elected officials and spoke about ongoing efforts to civically engage the ocean state’s historically underserved communities.

“We make every effort to provide bilingual voter information as much as possible,” explained Director Placencia. “Ultimately, our focus is on ensuring that every eligible voter and candidate in Rhode Island has the information they need to participate in our elections.”

Political agendas continue to weaponize misinformation as we have seen in recent years—however, combined with the rise of AI technology, these tactics may pose a greater threat to democracy. The Trusted Info 2024 Initiative encourages all residents to get election information from trusted sources, said Secretary Amore.

“We have seen so much misinformation around elections and around election results that we want Rhode Islanders to know that they can trust the information they’re getting from our office,” shared Secretary Amore. 

Residents can find accurate information online, register to vote, apply for a mail-in ballot, and more—in English and Spanish—at vote.ri.gov.

“What people may not realize is that vote.ri.gov also shares data on voter information and voter turnout in Rhode Island,” said Director Placencia. “Our office is committed to making this information available to anyone who needs it.” 

The Department of State will also accept any invitation from community groups to discuss topics like voter rights, government access, and civic engagement with residents, added Secretary Amore. 

The Ocean State’s mail ballot applications deadline is March 12 and early voting runs from March 13 to April 1. The presidential preference primary is on April 2. 


Publisher’s Note: Rhode Island Latino News and the Rhode Island Department of State are partners in providing Hispanic-Latino communities with resources to civically inform, educate, and empower them to make the best decisions for themselves.

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