A year after papal visit, Philadelphia gears up to host 50,000 people at DNC

Philadelphia is gearing up to host more than 50,000 people later this month when it hosts the Democratic National Convention. It will be the ninth time a political convention is held in the historic city — including the first Republican National Convention in 1856.

Pedro Cortes, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State, said they expect some 50,000 people to attend the megaevent in Philadelphia, which will take place the week of July 25.

Philadelphia’s population, approximately one and a half million people, is 12 percent Latino.

In terms of security, local officials are comparing the convention to Pope Francis’ visit in 2015.

But Cortes says the city is ready.

“We are excited. Pennsylvania is used to being in the limelight and the world stage,” he said in an interview with Fox News Latino.

“The hospitality is going to be here, [and all] the accommodations,” he added. “We are working very close with the commonwealth and the city of Philadelphia and with the Democratic National Convention.”

Cortes also spoke about the success of the online voter registration system implemented across the state, with 420,000 residents enrolled in less than a year.

“We’ve been able to do that with no … paid advertisement,” Cortes said, “it’s been mostly through social media and stakeholders. It’s been well-accepted, it’s easy, it’s intuitive.”

Part of the state’s mission to get more people voting includes an outreach to Latinos, which the state is doing via Spanish-language election literature and a campaign entitled “Everyone Votes” that thoroughly explains the voting process in both English and Spanish. State officials also are visiting schools to encourage people to register, and increasing the use of social media, in English and Spanish, to spread the word, Cortes said.

“We’re making a conscientious effort to engage the Latino community,” said Cortes, who was born in Puerto Rico.

“We’re making sure we speak the language that is most comfortable for some of our Latino brothers and sisters,” Cortes said.

When Pennsylvania launched the new system, they became the 21st state to have it. Now, the number of states that offer online voter registration has climbed more than 30.