This month Juan Cartagena marks nine years as president and general counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. It advocates for Hispanic civil and voting rights, and his interests include the effects on those rights of mass imprisonment, language barriers and gerrymandering. After Columbia Law School he spent seven years in the 1980s as a junior attorney for the same organization, then called the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. He later worked for the government of Puerto Rico, as a municipal judge in Hoboken, N.J., as general counsel of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and as a top official at the Community Service Society, which litigates on behalf of the poor. He also lectures at Rutgers. His answers have been edited for clarity and length.
What's democracy's biggest challenge, in 10 words or less?
Easing the way for the unregistered to vote.