A portrait of Antonio Arellano, interim executive director for Jolt Action.

Antonio Arellano, interim executive director for Jolt in Texas, said events like the town hall the group hosted Feb. 15, are aimed at showing presidential candidates the political power of young Latino voters. 

Credit:

Stella Chavez/KERA News

With Super Tuesday two weeks away, Democratic presidential candidates are scrambling to convince people to come out and vote on one of the most important days of the primary season. A third of all delegates will be allocated after contests Tuesday, March 3, in 16 states — including delegate-rich states such as California and Texas. 

And in Texas, the Latino vote — which could be hugely influential — is up for grabs. 

Texas is still a red state, especially in the rural areas. But larger urban areas like Dallas and Houston are very much blue. Young Latinos — and Latinos overall — are a key demographic group for candidates hoping to win enough delegates to secure the Democratic Party nomination for president. About 30% of eligible voters in Texas are Latino. And to tap into that group, several organizations in Texas are mobilizing to get young Latinos engaged in the electoral process.

The World's host Marco Werman spoke to Stella Chávez, a reporter with KERA News in Dallas, who is working with The World on "Every 30 Seconds," a yearlong series exploring the Latino youth vote. She attended a town hall Feb. 15 in Houston, where young Latinos heard from several presidential candidates and asked questions about their platforms. It was hosted by Jolt, a progressive political action organization in Texas. Their message? To win in November and turn Texas purple, candidates need to prioritize voters of color. 

"Any candidate that underestimates and does not prioritize young Latino voters is making a very serious mistake," Jolt's interim director Antonio Arellano told Chávez. "You see that growing political power in Texas is incredibly young and it's Latino. And so if you want to win the state of Texas, you've got to start listening to Latino voices. Specifically Latina women."

Listen to the full story above. 

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