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Dear Friends & Colleagues:

I hope this note finds you well. I write to let you know that I am taking a three month leave of absence from Nacional Records to take on election season projects, including serving as Deputy Director of Voto Latino, a non-profit organization I have served on the board of for the past year .  Voto Latino is the preeminent non-profit / non-partisan organization empowering young Latino Americans. Co-founded in 2004 by the actress Rosario Dawson, Voto Latino works to promote an enfranchised America by leveraging celebrity voices, the latest technology and youth themselves to promote positive change.  Maria Teresa Petersen, the executive director, has become the foremost visible expert on the Latino electorate, appearing regularly on CNN, MSNBC and NPR. Voto Latino is doing incredible work mobilizing the Latino youth vote, and has registered more than 22,000 new voters since January 2008.

As you likely know, six of the thirteen "Battleground States" this election season have a pivotal, Latino electorate that is greater than 10%. Independent research conducted by The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute estimates an increase of approximately 23% in the Latino voter turnout when compared to 2004. They attribute this to the naturalization of Latino immigrants as well as the 'coming of age' of American Latino youth. Below are recent state-by-state numbers, courtesy of the Pew Hispanic Center:  
New Mexico 37.5% of electorate is Latino
Texas 24.6% of electorate is Latino
California 22.9% of electorate is Latino.
Arizona 17% of electorate is Latino
Florida 13.6% of electorate is Latino
Colorado 12.2% of electorate is Latino
Nevada 12.2% of electorate is Latino
New York 11.4% of electorate is Latino
New Jersey 10% of electorate is Latino
Connecticut 8.2% of electorate is Latino
Illinois 8.1% of electorate is Latino
Massachusetts 5.3% of electorate is Latino
Wyoming 5.1% of electorate is Latino
Idaho 5.1% of electorate is Latino

(Overall U.S. 14.9% of electorate is Latino)
VOTO LATINO & YOU                                                                                  
Voto Latino is non-partisan and will be present at both the Democratic and Republican conventions. The latest polling shows Barack Obama leading McCain among Latino voters by 66% to 23%. Supporting Voto Latino's work helps ensure maximum Latino voter turnout, as well as participation and engagement with the American political process for our country's fastest-growing minority.

If you'd like to donate may do so...because well, we still have so much left to do!

If you're unable to donate, no worries. We do hope you'll at least pick up the iTunes Voto Latino benefit album if you haven't already (just $3.99) - please visit: <;s=143441>

For those planning to be in Denver for the DNC Convention, Voto Latino is hosting a special event the evening of Aug. 27th featuring speakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome, Arizona governor Janet Napolitano and Rosario Dawson, as well as performances from Carlos Mencia and Nortec Collective.  

Enjoy the recent Variety and People Magazine articles below.

Wishing you all the best,

Josh Norek


·  Voto Latino recognizes that Latino youth are American youth first and foremost. The issues which most affect them and the media and culture they consume is aligned to the wider American youth demographic. They consume most of their information in English.

·  50,000 Latinos turn 18 every month.

·  Leveraging the Web 2.0 and user-generated platforms leading up to the 2008 general elections, Voto Latino will target the 7 million American Latino voters aged 18-29, or 18% of the youth vote. Of the 18 million Latinos, 50% are under 40.

· 1 in 2 Non Hispanic White Youth / 1 in 3 Black youth are registered to vote as compared with 1 in 6 Latino youth.


·  More than 22,000 people registered to vote online via the site since January 2008 alone.

·  Earlier this year Voto Latino and Declare Yourself (founded by Norman Lear) launched a highly publicized, web-based public service announcement (PSA) voter registration campaign. In his directorial debut, Wilmer Valderrama (star of "That 70's Show") directed and co-starred in a 4-part "Telenovela" series, which featured he and Rosario Dawson as a couple about to wed. The Telenovelas were filmed in English, deliberately, to capture the attention of the youth demographic, who consumes their information in English.  LINK =

·  Voto Latino launched the first national SMS (Text Messaging) voter registration project in 2006 with Mobile Voter.

· New initiatives include:

· Voto Latino and SiTV are launching a country-wide contest for youth reporters to cover the DNC and RNC Conventions.

· Voto Latino and iTUNES teamed up for the first-ever fundraising initiative of its kind, where mainstream and Latino artists donated songs to sell for just $.99. All proceeds go directly to Voto Latino's voter registration initiatives, with Apple having graciously waived its regular distribution fees.  We're very happy to report that the album spent three weeks at #1 on iTunes' sales chart!

·  This fall Voto Latino is launching another PSA campaign, in partnership with YouTube, allowing youth to submit their own voter registration spots.

· Voto Latino's voter registration PSA's from high profile artists like Pitbull and Don Dinero are airing nationally through our partnerships with television networks like Time-Warner Cable, TV Azteca, LATV, SiTV, MTV Tr3s and Mun2. We are ramping up online campaigns with corporate partners like Myspace, iTunes and Youtube, and will begin our national Radio voter registration campaign in September with key networks like La Kalle.

Variety July 29th, 2008

Rosario Dawson & Voto Latino

When actress Rosario Dawson began developing Voto Latino in 2004, the goal was to get out the vote.
"Voto Latino was started as a public service campaign encouraging American Latino youth to participate in the political process," the actress explains.
Previously, no org was effectively using technology and entertainment to reach young Latino voters, she says.
Dawson teamed with political consultant Maria Teresa Petersen to establish a board, expand an arts coalition of celebrities (
Cameron Diaz, John Leguizamo) and find powerful supporters such as Pacific Gas & Electric and the Silicon Valley Foundation.
"We created the first voter registration engagement programs that involved iTunes, MySpace, YouTube, radio stations and youth-space networks, and we were the first organization on a national level to use kids text messaging and the first to use viral videos like telenovelas," says Petersen, founding executive director of Voto Latino, which is 98% volunteer run.
"We discovered a real opportunity to get American Latino youth engaged in civic participation because no one else was doing it. And over 50,000 new Latino youth become of voting age each month," notes Dawson, adding that most of them speak English.
Since Jan. 1, Voto Latino has registered more than 22,000 people in the U.S. on "For me, as a second-generation American, Voto Latino is personal," Dawson says. "I'm proud to say that a lot of my work has helped shed light on this often misunderstood electorate."
When 20-year-old USC student Carlos Ernesto Hernandez hooked up with Voto Latino, he hunted for potential young voters in their everyday habitat, leading his fraternity brothers on a voter registration drive at a B-Side Players concert at the Key Club in Hollywood.

"A club or concert, who would have thought of going? We did it under Voto Latino," he says. "We told them, 'If you care about your country, then go and vote!'"
Hernandez grew up in Bell, Calif., went to school in Watts and is now a summer intern at Paradigm.

"Getting involved with Voto Latino allowed me to realize how important it is for our people to vote. I realized a lot of Latinos aren't doing this. They aren't aware of the power they hold by voting," he says.

His next venture will be a drive to register voters in heavily populated Latino areas in Los Angeles, this time targeting older voters as well as the young.

People Magazine July 23rd, 2008,,20214452,00.html

July 23, 2008
Rosario Dawson Helps Get Out the Young Latino Vote
By Susan Mandel

Rosario Dawson may have two new movies set for release this fall, but for now she's taking a break from acting to focus on politics.

The New York native, accompanied by boyfriend Mathieu Schreyer, went to Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill Tuesday to help promote voter participation.

"I decided I'm not going to be working at all through the fall," the actress who'll be seen in Eagle Eye with Shia LaBoeuf and Seven Pounds with Will Smith    told PEOPLE.

Instead, she plans to work at voter drives across the country sponsored by her non-profit Voto Latino.

"We're targeting the Latin youth vote," said Dawson, 28. "There's 18 million [people who] are eligible. But we are not showing that up in votes. So our numbers aren't counting. When you actually ... work with local organizations that makes the biggest impact, and that's what I want to be a part of."

Dawson (who admits she didn't vote for president until 2004, the same year she started Voto Latino) will be at both Democratic and Republican conventions as part of her efforts to reach young Latinos.

"The reason why I co-founded Voto Latino is because of my mom," she told the crowd in D.C. "It's because of my grandmother. It's because I was raised to do it yourself. You want that to be better? You do it yourself."