Drury students create website for Hispanic voters

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Just under two weeks before the Missouri municipal elections, students at Drury University are helping Hispanics prepare to vote. Spanish professor Dr. Elizabeth Nichols of Drury says that nationwide, only 40% of Hispanic voters eligible to vote actually register.

Dr. Nichols’ Fall 2021 Spanish class has created a website called Viva the Vote. It is a bilingual website that you can read in Spanish or English. Viva the Vote helps explain the importance of doing civic duty and where people can register to do so. It also includes a list of candidates and policies on the upcoming ballot.

Senior student Luke Wegenka helped create this resource.

“Everyone’s voice being heard is extremely important,” Wegenka said. “When an entire community isn’t registered as much as other communities, that’s a sector of the community that isn’t reflected in votes as much as possible. Thus, more registration means more expression of their views, opinions, votes and potentially in our constituents and the people who represent us.

Wegenka’s class worked with the League of Women Voters and the Meador Center to create a website that chooses no political side.

Dr. Nichols, who teaches the class, tells OzarksFirst that there are many Hispanics in the Ozarks who could have a bigger impact than they realize.

“The Hispanic population, like everyone else in the United States, these voters have concerns,” Dr. Nichols said. “These main concerns are usually education, health and the economy. Really, the best way for them to influence, say, the schools in their area is if they can vote. Most of the issues that matter to Hispanics are the kind of issues where they can have a voice if they vote.

Dr. Nichols says that each fall semester, her Spanish class will update the website with resources and voting policies.

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