MODESTO -- A Latino get-out-the-vote effort came to Modesto, seeing the valley city as central to those it was trying to reach by Tuesday.
The newly formed Voto Latino Action Fund, political arm of Voto Latino, picked Modesto because of its location and highly organized volunteers for staging a rally with film star Rosario Dawson, spokesman Jesus Malverde said Sunday.
The two issues front and center were Propositions 30, the governor's tax initiative, and 32, the measure to restrict political contributions. They affect education and union workers, both key issues for Latinos, Malverde said.
"We want Latinos to realize the pros and cons," he said. "Really look at the information (provided by campaigns) is it really information or is it misinformation?"
His group hopes to raise awareness of the importance of voting for measures and candidates that help their community. "It's up to us as Latinos to be sure we're represented," Malverde said.
"We want voters to really inform themselves and act accordingly," he said.
Dawson, the celebrity draw, exhorted the crowd of roughly 80 people to get out and vote. The next time someone asks to see immigration documents, she said, pull out voter registration papers.
A Voto Latino co-founder, the actress has had roles in such films as "Unstoppable," "Sin City," and "Descent," a feature film she also produced.
Speaking at the event was Modesto Junior College student Cecilia Rodriguez of Oakdale, a volunteer with Congregations Building Community.
Rodriguez said she initially volunteered on a phone bank, just because her friends did. The cause was to promote Proposition 30. One of the first voters to whom she spoke derided the effort as "fools for schools."
His sneering at her dream steeled her commitment.
"For myself, it's definitely not just about Prop. 30 and getting money for schools, it's about the future," she said.
If Proposition 30 fails, her parents taught her a thing or two about perseverance, she said.
"I can still achieve; it's only going to be a little harder," she said. "That's not going to stop me."
Right now, she focuses on getting people to the polls.
"I tell people how important your vote is. One vote really makes a difference."
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2339, and on Twitter, @NanAustin.