John Rudolph, an executive producer with the public-radio organization Feet in 2 Worlds, hopes this new app will make a difference. "The Unidos app is designed to engage young Latinos, to give them information that they need to register to vote and become informed voters," he says. The free app has been released for iPhones.
Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. But Rudolph says a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that differences in voter turnout are significant.
"Forty-four percent of Hispanics said they were likely to vote in the November election, which compares to 70 percent of whites who say that they're going to vote," says Rudolph. That difference could be enough to sway the election results in many districts.
The difficulty in engaging young voters is nothing new, and there are other efforts underway to try to motivate them. Rudolph says the Unidos app is using a mix of news and useful information combined with shareable content, such as emojis in Spanish and English.
"We're hoping that, by using the language of smartphones, we'll be able to engage an audience that a lot of people have been scratching their heads over how to reach for many years," he notes.
Rudolph points out that the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the court's recent immigration ruling, is just one example of the importance this election will have for the Latino community.