Two facts make the Latino vote a powerful voice which many still do not understand. First, their numbers. California Latinos comprised 22 percent of the vote and 38 percent of the population in the Nov. 2 election.
The grace period to register to vote in the Feb. 22 election ends Tuesday night. By 5 p.m., qualified voters should register at the Chicago Board of Elections, at 69 W. Washington St.
Next Tuesday's election includes the percolating race for Chicago mayor, in which Rahm Emanuel is the clear front-runner and, according to poll numbers, Gery Chico and Carol Moseley Braun are closest to forcing a run-off. If Emanuel gets 51 percent, he wins.
Early voting for the 2011 Municipal General Election ends Thursday. Registered voters can cast their ballot at any of the 51 polling sites in Chicago. Early voting ballots are final.
Emanuel and candidate Miguel del Valle cast their votes on the first day of early voting.
According to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, turnout numbers on the first day of early voting set a record, trumped only by early voting for the 2008 Presidential Election in which Barack Obama was a candidate.