We are Getting out the Vote!

All across the country, advocates are helping to mobilize the immigrant vote. During the upcoming election, these new voters’ voices will be heard in unprecendented numbers.

As Henry Fernandez reported at ThinkProgress:

A recent NALEO Educational Fund poll found that an astonishing 90% of Latinos in battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico) say they are certain to vote.

Why does this matter? The vote count gurus over at FiveThirtyEight.com rank Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico as top “tipping point states,” meaning a state that in a close national election would alter the outcome if decided differently.

That’s right. The work that is being done by Immigrant Rights groups across the nation will be a major part of next week’s Election outcome. Here is a run down of our folks on the ground and the amazing work they are doing.

In Chicago:

In California:

The Korean Resource Center will be walking precincts in Orange County, making sure that Korean American voters are prepared to show up to the polls on E-day. The Korean American community and its political power is growing exponentially in the area. Since 2000, the number of registered Korean American voters has more than doubled from 11,364 to 24,780.

Volunteers will be talking to voters at their homes about what information they need to ensure their civic participation, as well as distribute KRC’s bilingual voter guide that includes recommended stances on key ballot measures that will impact the immigrant and Korean American communities. 

More from Chicago:

The Illinois Coalition for Imigrant and Refugee Rights has registered 25,815 new voters in the immigrant community, through their New Americans Democracy Project “Our Vote is Power” campaign.

The next step is to “Get-Out-The-Vote” (GOTV) through an unprecedented effort that includes direct contact with over 144,000 immigrant voters through a combination of door-knocking, direct mailers, door-hangers, live and robo-calls. The New Americans Democracy Project has raised over $1 million for their voter registration and GOTV efforts.
With 20 campaign fellows (full time field organizers) a total of 2,565 Election Day volunteers will work in 694 precincts and target over 144,000 immigrant voters to bring to the polls on Election Day.

And their work will be HUGE during the Congressional races in Illinois. A recent report states that the immigrants vote could swing as many as 8 of the state’s Congressional races in Novemeber.

In New York: 

Immigrant leaders and community members gathered on October 19th, on the steps of Staten Island Borough Hall to kick off the Immigrant Voter Action Campaign-the biggest-ever GOTV effort focusing on Latino, Asian, Arab, and other communities on Staten Island and in Brooklyn.  The nonpartisan effort is part of a broader GOTV campaign, with voter turnout work taking place in 12 areas throughout the city and state.

“This campaign will mobilize immigrant voter power in New York as never before.  We will capture the record-breaking numbers of immigrants who have become citizens and newly registered voters during the last two years.  Just as importantly, the campaign will make sure that urgent immigrant issues are placed squarely on the table for all candidates, from president on down, to clearly address,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, lead coordinator of the citywide and statewide GOTV efforts.

“New Americans will be turning out to vote like never before because we know how much is at stake this election year,” said Gonzalo Mercado, executive director of El Centro del Inmigrante on Staten Island.  “After marching in 2006, we’re going to march in huge numbers to the polls on Election Day, November 4th.” 

So far, 14 New York groups, working in 17 areas throughout the state have helped to register 15,000 new American voters.

Keep reading below for more about how we are getting out the vote across the nation!

In Tennessee:

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition has been getting out the vote through their “Our Voice, Our Vote” Campaign.

Amelia Post, a Civic Engagement Organizer at TIRRC told me about the activities and efforts involved in “Our Voice, Our Vote”:

This campaign has brought together diverse communities to increase the voice of the immigrant and refugee community in this year’s election.  We have organized Community Voting Days to promote early voting with three immigrant mosques in Nashville.  

After Friday prayer (October 24th) , communities went to vote together at the nearest Early Vote location.  Members of the Nashville Metro Taxi Drivers Association volunteered their services to help drive people to the polls.   

Our most successful day was at the Salahadeen Center of Nashville, which is mostly made up of the Kurdish community.  Youth worked hard to get out the word about the event, to distribute voting rights cards, and to help with translation for their elders.  Over fifty community members voted together, many of whom were first-time voters who had registered to vote at the mosque in the months before.  It was a really exciting and joyful event. 

In Washington DC:

“We’re reaching the next phase of this amazing journey we began in 2006 together,” said Rudy Lopez, deputy director for politics with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Community Change. The center is one of the 14 partners in the We Are America Alliance.”

The Alliance has regisreted 500,000 new voters and will now be pushing new immigrant voters to turn out for election day in battleground states like Florida, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico.

In Florida:

Despite long lines and frustration in Miami, immigrant rights advocates rallied to show support during early voting this week. Advocates from the Florida Immigrant Coalition were present at the rally. Maria Rodriguez from FLIC said:

This rally is bringing together diverse sectors of our community to encourage people to vote . Many organizations across the state have worked arduously to get immigrants to participate civically – to naturalize, to register and now to come out and vote. We value immigrants and immigration and we want legalization and an opportunity for immigrants.

Be sure to watch the video of the rally, for an inspiring glimpse of democracy in action.

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