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Groups Offer Incentive For Registering To Vote On U New Mexico Campus

This story was written by Hunter Riley, Daily Lobo

University of New Mexico College Democrats, Voto Latino and iTunes have teamed up to give students an incentive to register to vote.

Students who register will receive a free, pre-loaded iTunes music card worth $5.

College Democrats is working with the Hispanic Caucus to register as many Latinos as possible, said Antonio Gandara-Martinez, vice president of the College Democrats.

Gandara-Martinez said a Voto Latino representative approached him about the iTunes project.

The project is being introduced in battleground states such as New Mexico, and then it will open up to the rest of the nation, Gandara-Martinez said.

The Hispanic Caucus helps College Democrats reach Latino citizens and focus on issues in the Latino community, caucus representative Eric Sanadria said. Latino votes will be very important in this election, and candidates are aware of that, he said.

"When we got to talking, we decided this would be a great way to reach Latinos and encourage them to register to vote," he said. "The Latino vote is becoming important in the community."

Gandara-Martinez said the idea is to get students registered before the Oct. 7 deadline.

"We have received the cards and plan to unveil them at UNM on Oct. 6, when we have our 'Last Chance to Vote' event," Gandara-Martinez said.

UNM has nearly 500 cards to distribute to students, he said.

"All the student has to do is register to vote to activate the card," Gandara-Martinez said. "Then they go online, and iTunes songs are automatically downloaded. They are pre-selected Spanish and Latino songs."

Each card downloads eight songs to the student's library, according to the Voto Latino Web site.

The College Republicans are trying to get students to register as well. Vice President Heather Hall said the UNM chapter of College Republicans has been holding events to increase student registration.

"We will be tabling this week on campus and have voter registration forms for anyone who needs to register," she said.

College Republicans are focused on the youth vote, Hall said.

"It is very exciting that the youth has the potential to have such a huge impact on this election," she said.

Gandara-Martinez said he was excited to work with the nonprofit, nonpartisan Voto Latino to bring students an opportunity to register to vote.

"It is important for students to know they can register as Republicans, Democrats or Independents, and they will still get (an iTunes) card," Gandara-Martinez said. "Hopefully, it will be a large nonpartisan event."

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