What’s Not Happening in Registration?

New Orleans         Following the millions of immigrants, particularly Latinos, this spring, one of the often repeated objectives seemed to be voter registration. There was talk of registering 1,000,000 new Latino voters by 2008. Having beaten that number overall in 2004, ACORN and its family of organizations, including Project Vote, know something about how hard that is to accomplish.

What has happened thus far? Not much. At least not yet.

The numbers mean something as well. Only 58% of eligible Hispanic voters are actually registered. Only 47% percent of the registered voters actually vote. This is of course way worse than white voter turnout and even significantly below African-Americans (69% of whom are registered and 60% of whom vote).

Our friends at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights estimates that there are 9.4 million immigrants, Hispanic and non-Hispanic, who are eligible for citizenship, and therefore would be potential voters. That’s a big number, and it would make a big difference to these families, to the weight of the issue of immigration, and potentially to a significant number of “too close to call” races, if we can get the job done.

ACORN is at the table of the We Are America Alliance with ICIRR as well as SEIU and others. It looks like it could cost $8,000,000 to hit the 1M new voter benchmark.

Once we get past this election we need to get on that job PDQ. Less than $10 per person to bring voting rights to Hispanics and move them into the ballot box seems like a bargain to us.

500,000 march for immigration rights in Dallas, Texas.
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