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Wilmer Valderrama: Voting Is A Tribute To Your Culture

Wilmer Valderrama and other organizers of a national voter registration coalition urged Hispanics to vote as a tribute to one's culture and family.
Image: Voto Latino's 2013 Inauguration Celebration
File photo of actors and activists Wilmer Valderrama and Rosario Dawson during Voto Latino's 2013 Inauguration Celebration at Oya Restaurant on January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. Kris Connor / Getty Images

The National #PowerOfOurVote coalition of more than 75 groups working on Latino voter registration said Wednesday in a call with reporters they are urging Latinos - especially young HIspanics - to vote as a recognition of their families' sacrifices and as a matter of cultural pride.

"Politically we have to make a house, we have to get everyone to build it together," said actor and activist Wilmer Valderrama - who co-chairs Voto Latino's Artist Coalition. Voto Latino heads the coalition's online efforts.

“Young Latinos are learning that it is a privilege to be eligible to vote and they should remember the sacrifices of those who came before them to secure those rights for all Americans,” said Valderrama.

In 2010, about 31 percent of eligible Hispanic voters went to the polls. Though the coalition acknowledged there are many Latino voters who feel disappointment over inaction on immigration, the national group said its aim is to see voting as going beyond a particular issue or party.

Valderrama said the coalition is thinking of unique venues to get young people to register, including music festivals and concerts. Ben Monterroso, of Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, the group organizing on-the-ground registration efforts, said the efforts include visiting churches, supermarkets, partnering with local media to sponsor candidate forums and knocking on doors.

About 66,000 Latinos turn 18 _ when young people become voting eligible _ every month, according to Voto Latino. But 15 percent of the nation's 82 million non-voters in 2012 were Hispanic and the worst turnout for Latinos was among those ages 18 to 29, according to Pew Research Center's Hispanic Trends Project.