Mi Familia Vota Helps Record Number Of Arizona Latinos Register To Vote

By Olivia Richard
Published: Monday, September 19, 2016 - 10:24am
Updated: Monday, September 19, 2016 - 10:34am
(Photo courtesy of Mi Familia Vota)
A volunteer holds up a sign encouraging Arizona's Latinos to go vote.

There are more than 2.5 million Latinos in Arizona according to the latest PEW study. However, Latino voter turnout historically ranks among the lowest. This year, several voter outreach organizations are working to shift behavior in Arizona Latinos by increasing voter registration.

Mi Familia Vota is one of several local voter outreach organizations working to increase voter registration and turnout within the Latino community. They set the goal of registering 75,000 new Arizonan Latinos to vote before the Oct. 10, 2016, registration deadline. 

With about a month to go, the effort has surpassed the goal, making it the largest voter registration effort in Arizona history. Mi Familia Vota Deputy Director Eduardo Sainz said they hope to register a total of 100,000 new voters.

Sainz said much of the campaign's success is due to dual-language campaigning. 

“We are trying to make sure we are meeting our community where they are,” Sainz said. “For some of them, their first language is Spanish, so we are reaching out to them, and we are talking to them and educating them in their own language where they feel comfortable.” 

While Latino voter registration has been historically low, Latino voter turnout has been even more sparse. According to Latino Decisions, only 40 percent of eligible Latino voters cast ballots in the 2012 general election. 

“The next step is to make sure that those voters that we register are getting out to vote either early voting or on election day,” Sainz said. “So after the election, [the next phase] is talking to the voters to see how much 1-888-VEY-VOTA and the campaign had an impact on the election.”

The organization launched an expansive media outreach campaign, which includes audio and television ads aimed at encouraging Latinos to register and vote, either in person or by mail.

Anna Castro, Mi Familia Vota communications director, said it's important that Latinos go to the polls to make sure their voice is heard on Election Day. “We will be going out and reminding people to vote, it really matters,” Castro said. 

According to Mi Familia Vota registration data, the majority of the new Arizonan Latinos are registering either Independent or Democrat. However, who people choose to vote for doesn’t matter, Sainz said.

“We do non-partisan work so we don't advocate for one party or another. The only thing we do is educate our community in the how easy it is to have access to voting on Election Day," Sainz said.