Eager to encourage Latinos to vote in the upcoming primary elections, members of the New Immigrant Community Empower (NICE) and volunteers canvassed Jackson Heights and Elmhurst for two Sundays in a row.
“The first year, I participated I was very nervous, but now I am glad to speak to voters and explain how important it is for them to vote,” said Viviana Loza, a volunteer.
On Sunday, August 8 and August 15, the canvassers, in pairs of English and Spanish speakers, visited the apartments of registered immigrant voters in the 39th State Assembly District urging them to vote on September 14.
“This campaign has helped my parents understand their importance in the upcoming elections,” said Isaac Emperador, a resident of Jackson Heights. “I am sure they will now take more action and vote this September.”
A major component of NICE’s non-partisan Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign is that it allows for non-citizens to have a role in the political process by mobilizing and educating their neighbors.
“A large number of immigrants are unable to vote yet, however through this campaign they can urge others to represent them at the polls,” said Juan Carlos Perez, coordinator of GOTV.
The 2009 primaries race for the City Council District 25 was decided by a narrow margin of 600 votes. During NICE’s 2009 GOTV campaign, NICE members and volunteers outreached to over 1,000 voters through canvassing, phone calls, and postcards.
Building on the success of last year’s campaign, the canvassers explained to immigrant registered voters the importance of voting, and the importance of voting on a pro-immigrant and pro-worker platform.
“Under the current growing anti-immigrant sentiment, grassroots campaigns like NICE’s GOTV show that immigrants are civically and politically engaged and this influences politicians to address the needs of immigrants,” said Adriana Escandon, who is a native from Ecuador and currently works as NICE’s Community Organizer.