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Latino vote continues to build in Florida with a week out

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By all accounts, the Latino vote is up in Florida in early voting and vote-by-mail, but down in black precincts. That’s a mixed bag for Hillary Clinton, who is looking for a strong turnout among both groups in her battle to defeat Donald Trump in the Sunshine State.

On a conference call Tuesday, Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigration Coalition and FLIC Votes, announced 359,000 Latinos had voted as of Monday in Florida, a record this early out before Election Day.

“The strategy has been to really push our people to vote early and vote by mail,” Rodriguez said on a conference call on Tuesday organized by the pro-immigration group America Voices. “It’s not something culturally that we usually do,” she said, adding that “we’re seeing big bumps for early voting.”

There are four groups working on the ground in Florida that have been working to register Hispanic voters this year — The New Florida Majority, Organize Now (based out of Orlando), Faith in Florida Action, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) — and is being led by the Center for Community Change Action.

A focus this year has been on registering and mobilizing low-propensity voters, those who have either no voting history or have voted in just one of the last three elections.

Earlier this year, Community Change Action, Latino Victory Project, and America’s Voice announced their “Families Fight Back” campaign based in Florida, Colorado, and Nevada, that aimed to collaborate with local groups and activists to register and mobilize voters.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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