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Colorado Immigration Voter Accountability Project Launches to Mobilize Latino, API Voters

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Multichannel Electoral Program Will Reach 45K Voters Face-to-Face With Message of Republican Obstruction on Immigration Reform

With the November midterm election fewer than three months away, and races in Colorado shaping up to be among the most competitive in the country, several of the organizations most involved in last year’s fight for broad immigration reform will be turning their focus to electoral accountability in Colorado. As promised repeatedly during the legislative campaign, the organizations will work to hold Republicans accountable for their obstruction of immigration legislation in the House this year.

The new campaign, entitled the Colorado Immigration Voter Accountability Project (CIVAP), announced its plans Thursday to reach and mobilize tens of thousands of Latino and Asian/Pacific Islander voters across the state, who are frustrated with Republican inaction on an issue central to Colorado’s families, communities and economy.

Latino voters have played a decisive role in the last two elections cycles in Colorado and we expect the same to be true in 2014. Each of the CIVAP partners will conduct a comprehensive field program with new registrants as well as occasional voters who would be unlikely to participate without additional encouragement.

The field program integrates traditional forms of voter contact like canvassing, phone banking, and direct mail with community organizing activities like townhalls and neighborhood meetings. Over the course of ten weeks, voters and volunteers might engage in five to seven contacts or “touches,” a proven method for turning out voters.

The chart below outlines equivalent 501(c)4 efforts to engage Latino voters in the past two election cycles:

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After the failure of immigration reform in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives this year, CIVAP will work to educate voters about 1) the role Republicans played in blocking immigration reform, and 2) the multiple votes taken by House Republicans, including Reps. Gardner and Coffman to end the DACA program and subject DREAMers to deportation.

“We pleaded with Rep. Cory Gardner for more than a year to support a bipartisan immigration reform bill in the House that was just waiting for his endorsement, but he refused. We told him there would be consequences for walking away from legislation that is supported by 70 percent of Coloradans, said, Sonia Marquez, Northern Region Organizer with CIRC Action Fund. “Today, the consequences begin. We may not have the big money on our side, but we have the people and our people are angry with Cory Gardner and ready to hold him accountable.”

Carla Castedo, Colorado State Director for Mi Familia Vota, said, “We’re committed to making 2014 count in Colorado. We know that midterm elections are always more challenging, but we’ve done some very sophisticated targeting of Latino and API voters in Colorado and we’ll be reaching the ones we think are most important and likely to make the difference in the incredibly tight races we have this year.”

Harry Budisidharta, API community leader and naturalized citizen voter, added, “Immigration is a very important issue to the Asian American community in Colorado. We are the fastest growing ethnic group in the US and we are very disappointed with the House Republicans for blocking the comprehensive immigration reform bill. We will go to the voting booth and vote the House Republicans out of office.”

I’m a registered Republican and also an immigrant. I’ve met with Rep. Mike Coffman several times and asked him personally to step up and support real immigration reform, but he’s ignored me, said Wendy Garay, a naturalized US citizen voter and registered Republican from Brighton, CO. I know I’m not the only one who’s frustrated by his lack of action, especially when he keeps talking about reform as if he’s some kind of champion. The only way I can really hold him accountable now is by exercising my right as a voter.”

For more background and analysis of Latino voters in Colorado, please click here.