Mobilize the Immigrant Vote 2006 Campaign Join MIV Donate
Our Vote = Our Voice

Statewide Campaign Mobilizes Thousands of Immigrants to the Polls

California – It is Election Day and, from sunrise until polls close, volunteers across California are hitting the ground and getting out the vote. While each get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaign has its own set of targets, one campaign is making sure that a critical voting bloc – immigrants – is well represented at the polls.

Dubbed Mobilize the Immigrant Vote 2006 (MIV 2006), the campaign has brought together over 150 community-based organizations across the state, all of them engaged in efforts to increase the civic participation of immigrants. Collectively, they have registered over 20,000 new voters, contacted over 30,000 people through their GOTV efforts, circulated more than 45,000 immigrant-friendly voter guides in six different languages, and distributed 65,000 voter’s rights cards that voters can take with them to the polls.

“This year, we’re engaging immigrants from all sides, using both traditional door knocking and phone calls, as well as newer, technologically-savvy approaches that utilize the Internet, MySpace and YouTube – which are increasingly popular with younger audiences,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, an anchor organization for the campaign.

MIV has had tremendous success, engaging immigrants in the nation’s civic process at much higher rates than the average native-born voter. Results from previous campaign years show that 73% of immigrant voters contacted by MIV went to the polls, and 69% of those were first-time or infrequent voters.

With last spring’s massive immigrant-led mobilizations resulting in a renewed interest within immigrant communities to be more civically involved, organizers expect similar results from this year’s campaign.

“We walk up and down streets, knock on doors, and find an incredibly receptive audience,” says Bekelech Woude, an immigrant from Ethiopia. “Everywhere I go, immigrants are eager to get involved because they understand what’s at stake for their families and for their communities,” she adds.

“With many wondering how immigrants will affect this year’s elections, we are working hard to ensure that the immigrant community is informed, engaged, and empowered to make a difference,” asserts Larisa Casillas, director of the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, a lead partner of the MIV Collaborative. “But we won’t stop there. We’re in it for the long haul, through 2008 and beyond,” she adds.

In California alone, 3.2 million immigrants are eligible to naturalize and subsequently vote, and almost 1 million children of immigrant will be eligible to vote in 2008, according to a nationwide study released this summer by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

And while the voting rates of immigrants are not proportional to their current population, their overall share of the electorate in recent elections has increased four times as quickly as that of non-immigrant groups.

“With immigrants representing over one-quarter of California’s population, we are a huge force to be reckoned with,” asserts Mariko Ryono, statewide coordinator of the MIV 2006 campaign, “We’re getting people involved in Tuesday’s election to help bridge the gap between those who live in California and those who vote in California. The results of our collective efforts will be felt for years to come.”


Mobilize the Immigrant Vote is made up of over 150 campaign partner organizations throughout California and is coordinated by a collaborative of diverse organizations committed to supporting the full inclusion of immigrant communities in the political process. These coordinating committee organizations are: Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (BAIRC); California Partnership (CAP); Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA); Korean Resource Center (KRC); Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action (PILA); Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN).

More information on immigrant voting and the MIV campaign is available at

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