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Pro-Immigrant Energy Driving Early Voting in Latino-Heavy Battleground States

 

2016 GOTV and canvassing operations, pro-immigrant energy and enthusiasm, and anti-Trump and anti-Republican sentiments are helping to bolster Democratic candidates in key Latino-heavy states such as Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Virginia.

“There’s a lot of skepticism about voter enthusiasm this year, but voters who are part of the pro-immigrant movement are shaping up to be an exception,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.  “Voters who have a direct, personal connection to undocumented immigrants, or recognize how the toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric this cycle is harmful to our country, are getting out and making their voices heard.  They know the stakes are just too high to sit this one out.”

In Nevada, leading political journalist Jon Ralston assesses the initial early vote totals in the state and notes that Democrats have jumped out to an early lead:

“How much of this is people wanting to end their participation in a relentlessly depressing election and how much is the result of the Democratic machine resurfacing after a 2014 hiatus will become clear after a few more days. But this is an ominous beginning for Republicans, who show little enthusiasm so far … this is the kind of break out of the starting gates the Democrats wanted.”

Also in Nevada, the Washington Post’s James Hohman describes key details and implications about the state’s early vote operations:

“The media tends to focus on the lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton relative to President Obama, which is real, but a few thousand more ballots were cast in Nevada on Saturday — during the first day of early voting — than during the kickoff day four years ago, when there was a similar flurry of activity to propel Democrats to the polls. And that was before Air Force One touched down yesterday afternoon.

…As much as 60 percent of the vote will be cast before Nov. 8 in the Silver State. Democrats have for several cycles dominated early voting, running up the score so that Republicans struggle to overcome it on Election Day.

…Early voting also gives Democrats more opportunities to turn out Latinos who have never voted before. Mi Familia Vota and Voto Latino co-hosted a four-hour block party Saturday afternoon in the parking lot of a mall that has an early voting site.

… Martinez also brought her dad with her to vote. The 58-year-old was born in Mexico and speaks Spanish. He became a U.S. citizen more than a decade ago but had never voted before Saturday. The chance to vote against Trump changed that. He was very excited.”

In Arizona, Pema Levy writes for Mother Jones about the Clinton campaign’s renewed efforts in the state and the larger point that Arizona’s Latinos could help deliver on immigration:

“If she wins Arizona, Clinton could bring Republicans to the table on immigration reform by proving to them that they have no shot at the White House—that even formerly safe red states will turn blue—if they continue to hold the Trump line on immigration.

‘We have been able to move the Latino community to participate in the civic life of Arizona on the issue of immigration,’ says Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, a group that has worked to register Latinos in Arizona and other states this year. He points out that in 2010, the year Arizona passed its draconian anti-immigrant law, there were 50,000 Latinos registered to vote by mail. Today, he said, there are more than 350,000. ‘I hope that Hillary Clinton and her campaign see this as an opportunity to send a clear message to Republicans that enough is enough to be playing around with the issue of immigration.’

…Of course, there will still be hurdles to accomplishing immigration reform in Congress, thanks largely to the uphill battle Democrats face in taking back the House of Representatives. But it would be a warning shot to Republicans in Washington to help move on immigration reform—and to future Republican presidential candidates that Trump’s hardline immigration stance was a losing electoral strategy.”

Also in Arizona, the grassroots Bazta Arpaio campaign just launched the largest-ever canvassing operation against notorious anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who, recent polls show, is losing in his re-election race. As the campaign describes, “The people Arpaio has targeted are now targeting him and are knocking thousands of doors to take him out of office.”

In Florida, Politico’s Marc Caputo highlights a new memo from the Clinton campaign assessing their prospects in the state, while also writing up accompanying details from early and absentee voting trends:

“From the complexion of Florida’s electorate to absentee-voting trends, Hillary Clinton’s campaign boasts in an internal memo that it’s in prime position to deliver the Sunshine State to the Democrat as in-person early voting begins today in most large counties

‘…Democrats successfully outpaced Republicans in registering new voters, therefore expanding our electorate,’ [Clinton’s Florida state director, Simone] Ward wrote. ‘In this year alone, nearly 754,000 new voters were added to the rolls, of which 259,000 were Democrats and 206,000 Republicans.’

The voter rolls are also less white. And, polls show, a blacker and browner electorate increases the chances the state turns Democratic blue for the third presidential election in a row.

‘Moreover, Democrats have made significant gains in diversifying the state’s electorate,” Ward writes. ‘In October 2012, Florida’s electorate was 67 percent white versus 64 percent in 2016 — a 3 (point) drop.’”

In Virginia, the Washington Post’s Antonio Olivo highlights the efforts of DREAMers who are part of CASA in Action to engage the Northern Virginia electorate to vote on behalf of immigrants who cannot vote themselves:

“Unable to vote in the presidential election, a group of undocumented immigrants is knocking on doors in Northern Virginia in support of Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates, convinced that the outcome of the vote will determine whether they can secure a path to citizenship in the country they have known since childhood.

The vote-seekers are some of the 750,000 recipients of temporary legal status under the Obama administration’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. They are acutely aware that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has pledged to deport the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants and that under a GOP-controlled Congress, past attempts at immigration reform have failed.

‘All DACA recipients should take this on as an added responsibility, to change the power structure,’ said Luis Angel Aguilar, 28, who received his protected status in 2013 and is helping to coordinate the effort. ‘Our voices need to be heard,’ he said.

…The Maryland-based group is behind the Virginia campaign and a similar one in central Pennsylvania. Similar efforts are underway in Arizona and other battleground states. The Clinton campaign launched a separate effort earlier this year, ‘My Dream, Your Vote,’ in which young undocumented immigrants, many of them brought to this country as children, urged Latino voters in North Carolina, Nevada, Florida and elsewhere to cast ballots for the Democratic nominee.”