STOCKTON, CA- Stockton is the first stop of the national campaign ¡Todos a Votar! (Let`s Vote) tour to register and mobilize Latino voters.
Led by six national Latino advocacy groups, ¡Todos a Votar! Campaign kickoff was held on Thursday, July 26 at the Comision Honorifica Mexicana, “La Jamaica” and is expected to travel to four cities and five other states.
The 2012 presidential election could be one of the most important for Latinos because the political party debates are polarizing issues close to home, such as jobs, taxes, immigration and health care.
“We will decide who will be elected president of the United States and who will be running the congress… we will also make sure that the issues that we care about are placed on the agenda,” said Eliseo Medina, Service Employees International Union International Secretary Treasure.
Through the door to door campaign Vanessa Maciel (23) and Adriana Granados (14), two of the thirty volunteers in Stockton, are determined to increase the Latino voter turnout in the San Joaquin County.
Are you registered to vote? is the question that Maciel and Granados continuously ask as they walk through the streets of Stockton, hoping to register as many new voters as they can.
“I am Latina…I really want to get out there and help,” said Macias. “I been a volunteer for two weeks…the message I want to get out is to encourage the community to vote.”
The goal of the campaign is to nationally register 650,000 new voters, – two thousand of them in the San Joaquin County.
For the labor rights leader, Medina, this November the election will also determine whether 1.2 million dreamers and eleven million workers, will legalize their immigration status.The Latino electorate is not a “sleeping giant,” says Arnulfo de la Cruz, California State Director of “Mi Familia Vota,” one of the national participating Latino advocacy groups.
“We [Latinos] are working one to three jobs, we are taking care of the children, we are up early, so we are not sleeping; we are an ignored block,” said De la Cruz. “I don’t think candidates and the political infrastructure do enough to reach Latino voters.”
“Political campaigns have limited money, so they will spend it on people who always vote to try to convince them to vote for them,” explains De la Cruz. “They will not go out to a Barrio (neighborhood) where there’s Latinos not participating to try to engage them to vote.”
With 30 volunteers in Stockton and 25 Modesto, the campaign plans to triple the number of volunteers as the election gets closer.
The ¡Todos a Votar! National Tour will next travel to Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego, to eventually reach Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Colorado.
According the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), in California, New Mexico and Texas, at least one in five voters will be Latino.
“These are all states where the Latino vote will play a decisive role,” said Medina. “Democracy works best when we all participate.”
Contact Dennise Rocha, Info@bilingualweekly.com