Hispanic Groups Aim To Mobilize Voters Before November
October 14, 2010 By Alison Bowen
Amid concerns that Hispanics are less likely to vote in November, activist groups are working to push every voter to the polls.
Calling for Latinos to “vote for respect,” grassroots groups announced a project to vote for officials supporting immigrants, saying that Hispanic turnout could be key during the midterm elections.
Groups like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mi Familia Vota and Voto Latino have planed public service announcements, voter hotlines and telling voters one by one what matters in the midterms.
“We can’t afford to sit this one out,” said Rafael Collazo, national deputy director for Democracia U.S.A.
The midterm elections provide a chance for Latinos to elect politicians who will focus on issues that interest them – including jobs, the economy and immigration – while also showing the strength of the Latino voting bloc, leaders said.
A report released last week by the Pew Hispanic Center suggested that Latinos largely supported Democrats but were lukewarm on making it to the polls.
On their website, Voto Latino describes the importance of mid-term elections, telling visitors they’re electing officials who decide budgets for school and transportation.
The coalition’s groups highlighted politicians they said were anti-immigrant, using Arizona’s recent state law to stress the importance of electing immigrant-friendly politicians.
“As we’ve seen this summer in places like Arizona, local officials can pass laws that affect young people in ways we didn’t think possible,” the Voto Latino website tells visitors.
LULAC details individual voting rights on their website, and Mi Familia Vota shows Eva Longoria in videos encouraging voting.
Groups have ramped up local efforts too.
In Texas, Mi Famlia Vota has worked with canvassers six days a week since September, reporting that they’ve knocked on 12,539 doors and spoken with more than 3,000 voters in person, collecting at least 3,000 commitments to vote.
“This is our time to use the power of the Latino vote to fight back against petty politics that only serve to blame and attack us,” said Ben Monterroso, the group’s executive director. “This is the moment to vote for leaders who will engage our issues.”
Image: Evoque @ Flickr.
About Alison Bowen
Alison is a Missouri native and New York City freelance writer who has wanted to cover Latin America since studying Spanish in Central America. After moving to Brooklyn, her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Daily News, the Manhattan Times and Women’s eNews. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and Latin American and Caribbean studies at New York University. Her thesis focused on immigration policies after September 11, including counterterrorism measures, and their effects on the daily lives of immigrants in New York City.