'Guac the Vote:' Houston taco trucks seek to register voters

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Saturday, October 1, 2016
(AP Photo/John L. Mone)

HOUSTON -- At Tacos Tierra Caliente - a food truck parked in a section of Houston where Spanish is spoken as often as English - $1.50 can buy such street taco staples as pollo (chicken), barbacoa (shredded beef) and lengua (tongue).

But next to the handwritten chalkboard menu and "cash only" sign is a new red, white and blue placard that commands: "Registrarse y Votar" (Register and Vote). A stack of bilingual voter registration forms and a pen are available nearby for anyone who wants to fill one out while scarfing down their orders.

The taco truck-based voter registration effort in the nation's fourth-largest city, along with a larger "Guac the Vote" drive by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, began a few weeks after a backer of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested the country would be subsumed by Mexican culture if it doesn't tighten its borders.

"You're going to have taco trucks on every corner," Marco Gutierrez, the founder of "Latinos for Trump," told MSNBC on Sept. 1.


Aiming to poke fun at the comments and capitalize on them, Houston designer Thomas Hull created the food truck voter drive in partnership with Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan group specializing in Hispanic civil outreach. Eight trucks are now registering voters in Houston.

"It was offensive to some," Hull said of Gutierrez's warning. "At the same time, those of us who live here in Texas find it humorous because there are taco trucks on every corner and we love them."

Gutierrez didn't return phone messages seeking comment.

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