Nationwide Effort Targets Over One Million Voters in $5.4+ Million Effort
Washington – Today, leaders from immigrant advocacy and civic participation organizations hosted a press call to highlight “Get Out the Vote” efforts to mobilize Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters in a number of battleground states, in time for the mid-term elections. The leaders discussed how the immigration debate is motivating these voters to head to the polls and provided firsthand accounts from the ground. The $5.4+ million engagement and mobilization efforts are targeting more than one million Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters in at least twenty-three states: Florida, California, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New York, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Ohio, Wisconsin, Idaho, North Carolina, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
As several recent polls highlight, the immigration debate continues to be an issue of top concern for Latino voters, a major driver of Latino political engagement and a key point of distinction between the two parties. Latino voters are building upon record levels of participation in 2008 and are poised to make a difference in 2010 and 2012.
Aparna Shah, Coordinating Director of the Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) California Collaborative and a partner in the We Are America Alliance, underscored the commitment she is seeing from immigrant voters this year. “Latinos, Asians, and immigrant voters continue to be driven by isues of immigration, the economy, and education. Since these are the critical themes in this election, our communities in particular will be turning out to make our voices heard.”
“From the response we’ve seen in the Latino community and the impressive numbers of Latinos registering to vote, I believe that our community realizes the importance of this election. With so many issues at stake, like immigration, unemployment, and the road to economic recovery, I think we will see people motivated to participate in the process. Democracia wants to ensure we keep that motivation going up until Election Day and that’s why we are involved in a robust GOTV program across the states where we operate,” said Rafael Collazo, National Deputy Director of Democracia USA.
As key issues like immigration and the economy continue to lead the debate in states like California, Arizona, and Colorado, advocates hope that this multi-million dollar campaign will help translate Latino and immigrant power at the voting booth into action by Congress. In Arizona and Colorado alone, advocates are targeting 230,000 and 175,000 voters respectively, amounting to approximately 15 percent of the voting populations in the previous primary elections. Given their proximity to the southern border, congressional representatives from these states should be leading the charge to reform federal immigration laws in Congress.
Lynn Tramonte with America’s Voice said, “Immigrant voters are Americans by choice. They love this country and are proud to be a part of it. By getting out to vote they strengthen our democracy, and encourage politicians to pass immigration reform that integrates immigrant families rather than demonizes them.”
“These grassroots groups will make all the difference on Election Day,” said Rudy Lopez, national field and political director for the Campaign for Community Change. “They have the greatest success in turning people out to the polls because people trust them, because they are part of the community and have dedicated years to advocating for the community. Latinos and immigrants represent the fastest growing segment of the voting population. In 2006 and 2008, there were record turnouts amongst these populations. We have no reason to believe we won’t beat expectations again this year.”
“Latino and immigrant communities that otherwise would not be contacted are engaged in November’s elections thanks to the efforts of the coalition,” said Ben Monterroso of Mi Familia Vota. “This mobilization is unprecedented in the way it has targeted a majority of the Latino vote that is poised to become the swing vote in numerous states.”
The call comes on the same day the Immigration Policy Center released a new report detailing the rise in the number of “New American voters” this cycle—voters for whom the issue of immigration is a deeply personal one, either because they are the children of immigrants or naturalized citizens themselves. Candidates should pay close attention to these numbers, and recognize that adopting an anti-immigration platform will cost them real votes from citizens with a close connection to immigration.