Two taxi companies in Salt Lake City announced that from now through Nov. 6 they will provide free transport for all Latinos who need it to get to the polling places so they can do their civic duty.

The service, organized by the Utah Coalition of La Raza, the Mexican Civic Center and the "Pulso Latino" radio program, aims to promote Hispanic participation in the upcoming elections, in which for the first time Utah will have ballots in Spanish.

Raul Ramirez, manager of Taxis Las Aguias, and Esteban Santos, manager of Grillos Taxi, said Tuesday that the service will be offered only in the Salt Lake City area, home to some 42,000 Latinos, of whom slightly less than 2,000 are estimated to be eligible to vote.

Hispanics represent 13 percent of the almost 3 million Utah inhabitants, or 390,000 people. Of those, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 123,000 will be eligible to vote, which represents 7 percent of the state's electorate.

"This year, when for the first time Latino voters in Salt Lake County will be able to vote in Spanish, Latinos should be aware that their vote can also make a difference in local elections, specifically in the election for the mayor of Salt Lake City," Tony Yapias, host of "Pulso Latino" and president of the Utah Latino Project, told Efe.

In that contest, Republican Mark Crockett is facing Democrat Ben McAdams.

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