When state Rep. Pedro Marin was elected in 2002 as one of the first Hispanic legislators in Georgia, there were only 983 Latino registered voters in Gwinnett County.
That number has risen to 16,000, but Marin is on a mission to increase the number of Hispanics asserting their right to vote.
Marin, D-Duluth, was named to the Georgia Latinos for Obama Leadership Committee.
"I am proud to be a part of this advisory council," Marin said. "Sen. Obama represents the kind of leadership that will fight for America's working families and will help create opportunities to empower our communities across America."
Marin said minority voting power has changed dramatically, with 100,000 Latino voters registered statewide. He wants to double that number before the November election.
"That's our big task before Oct. 6," the last day to register to vote, he said.
"Latino voters will play a pivotal role in the November election," said National Obama Campaign Co-Chair Federico Peña. "The members of the advisory council bring a breadth of knowledge, experience and leadership and will provide important guidance to Sen. Obama and our campaign about how to most effectively reach Latino voters in Georgia. Sen. Obama has earned a strong lead among Latino voters, but he isn't taking a single vote for granted. Latino voters are already seeing the contrast between Sen. McCain's campaign of the past and exchanging principle for political expedience, and Sen. Obama's campaign of change, hope and opportunity."
Ballots can be cast beginning Monday
While people still have a couple of weeks to register to vote, if you have already made up your mind about the election, you can cast a ballot beginning Monday.
Because of a change to the law, people can vote in person at the local voter registrar's office or request a ballot without giving a reason for voting absentee.
"Georgia will experience large voter turnout in the November general election," Secretary of State Karen Handel said. "This change in the law gives voters more options to cast their ballot and will ease wait times on Election Day."
Voters can request a mail-in ballot or vote in person through Oct. 31. All ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. Nov. 4, when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Voters can find voter registration information, including polling locations and legislative districts, by visiting www.sos.georgia.gov/ElectionCenter.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.