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Hispanic Republican Club entices voters with free services

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Gearing up for the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary in Florida, The Hispanic Republican Club in Pinellas County is offering up some free services. In what should come as little surprise to anyone, that includes voter registration.

The Republican Party has been, in recent years, struggling to maintain relevancy among minority voters. While the party still has a strong showing in Latin communities, that foothold could be shrinking.

Voter registration drives are key for both major parties going into elections, particularly major ones. Voter turnout by party is a key indicator of success. Not only can Republicans capitalize in the General Election by amping up voter registration efforts, they can also take the opportunity to remind independent voters of Florida’s rules involving primaries.

Florida is a closed primary state, meaning only Republicans can vote for Republicans, only Democrats can vote for Democrats and independents can’t vote at all. Both parties are announcing this regularly through social media and word of mouth and encouraging those who currently hold no-party affiliation to switch in order to vote in the March 15 Primary.

The Pinellas Republican Party’s Facebook page even has a vote reminding party supporters that people who stay home on Election Day elect Democrats. Democrats circulated a similar image offering the opposite message.

In addition to voter registration, the Hispanic Republican Club is also offering free translations, notary services, legal consultations, English as a second language lessons and citizenship classes.

The services are available on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the group’s Pinellas County office located at 1161 Woodlawn Street in Clearwater.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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