Immigrant Vote and Civic Participation


A report from the New Organizing Institute Education Fund. An interesting analysis of the demographic shifts that are emerging and the challenges for engaging and harnessing representation and influence in the coming years.

“The Emerging Majority – Latinos, African-Americans, American Indians, Asian-American/Pacific Islanders, unmarried women – has the potential to reshape our country. But even as their population grows, Emerging Majority citizens lag far behind the general public in voter registration rates. Each year, communities with the most at stake go into Election Day at a tremendous deficit before a single vote is cast.

We’re unveiling a new research report, Engaging the Emerging Majority: The Case for Voter Registration in 2012 and Beyond. The report analyzes Census data and assesses the actions needed to bring the numbers in line for 2012 and beyond. The report argues that significant, consistent investment in non-partisan voter registration year-to-year and cycle-to-cycle is one of the most effective ways to address the persistent under-registration and underrepresentation of the Emerging Majority…”

Go here to download the report.

“…the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) launches an interactive, online mapping tool that identifies the share of recently naturalized immigrants in the voting-age citizen population in the U.S. This innovative, user-friendly tool, designed to illustrate the potential importance of this vote and help target resources for more effective efforts at registration and mobilization…” Go here to download a copy of the Rock the (Naturalized) Vote report.

Check out the online mapping tools showing voting potential of naturalized voters in each state.

NEW: Download MIV Action Fund’s new 2012 California Voter Guide here. Various language editions available.

“The Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) California Collaborative was started in 2004 as the first-ever statewide campaign in California to organize a multi-ethnic coalition of community-based organizations working within immigrant communities and building their capacity to register, educate, and mobilize their constituents for electoral participation.

MIV is a non-partisan organization that follows all of the legal guidelines for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations…”

MIV provides some great tools for engaging immigtant communities in electoral organizing from a movement-building perspective. At the heart of MIV’s work are the 100-plus community organizations throughout California that have participated as members and partners of MIV.

Key sections of the Mobilize the Immigrant Vote Toolkit for Movement Building Electoral Organizing are available for download online here. The materials here were adapted by the Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action. Many sections are available in English, Spanish and Chinese.

The MOVE Toolkit (Movement-building Organizations for Voting and Long-term Empowerment) was developed from curricula and lessons learned from the MOVE 2007-2009 capacity-building programs. Download the movement-building electoral organizing tools in English, Spanish, and Chinese here.

  • Asian American Democracy Project, from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund includes a wealth of information on voting rights, including their extensive work in voter montioring and redistricting. Many materials are available in various Asian languages.

“The ability to have a say in the workings of government, either as an elected official or as a voter, is a powerful empowerment tool. Asian Americans are the fastest growing ethnic population in the United States, yet the community’s political strength has yet to be fully realized.

Throughout United States history, Asian Americans have been disenfranchised by discriminatory laws that denied citizenship to Asian immigrants and rendered them ineligible to vote. It was not until 1943 that Chinese Americans were first permitted to become citizens. For Asian Indians, it was 1946. For Japanese Americans and other Asian Americans, that right did not come until 1952. Despite the inroads Asian Americans have made as elected officials, the legacy of these discriminatory policies and the notion of Asian Americans as foreigners is still strongly felt today, impeding Asian American political participation.

AALDEF blends community education, election reform advocacy, litigation and technical assistance to community-based countries to promote civic participation among Asian Americans, immigrants and new citizens across the country.”

“The immigrant electorate is a powerful force that has the ability to impact city, state and federal policy. According to recent census data, New York is home to more than 1 million foreign-born voters. However, in spite these impressive numbers, ensuring an educated and active electorate requires hard work. According to results from the 2008 New York City Voter Exit Poll, immigrant communities that often fall outside the reach of traditional election outreach from campaigns and political parties. In 2008, only about 10% of foreign born voters reported being contacted by political parties or campaigns, roughly half the rate of their native-born counterparts in NYC.

The NYIC’s voter education and get-out-the-vote activities play a critical role in addressing this information gap — ensuring that voters understand their rights inside and outside the voting booth and also know where candidates stand on issues of importance to New York’s immigrant communities.”

This section includes voter resources, fact sheets, reports and candidate questionnaires from past elections.

Resources, analysis, information, lessons from immigrant community civic participation and integration programs.

  • South Asian Vote! is the 2012 initiative by SAALT, South Asian Americans Leading Together to engage South Asians in the 2012 elections, using several strategies: “Voter education materials around Know Your Rights, How to Get Involved, and the Election Process in 7 South Asian languages including Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil and Urdu; voter outreach and voter registration by civic leaders throughout the country; and election monitoring and protection for language access.” The section includes “Know Your Rights on Election Day.”
  • Latino Vote Map – a project of Latino Decisions and American’s Voice Education Fund. Shows the projected electoral count and state by state analysis of the Latino vote.

According to NALEO Executive Director Arturo Vargas, “Latinos continue to reshape the nation’s political map, and the Latino electorate will play a decisive role in Election 2012…Mr. Vargas concluded, “Both presidential candidates and political parties must actively work to engage Latino voters and address the issues they care about. This electorate has shown that it cannot be taken for granted by either party. Campaigns must enhance their strategies to reach all Latino voters, both native-born and naturalized. Latinos played a key role in the 2008 election; they will determine who is sworn in on January 20, 2013.”

From the Center for American Progress, an interactive map “showing the top 10 states with the highest number of potential voters.” Across the country, unregistered Latino and other immigrants eligible to vote runs into the millions by most estimates, while there are over 8 million permanent residents eligible for citizenship–also potential future voters.

“APIAVote is a national nonpartisan organization that works with partners to mobilize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in electoral and civic participation.

“APIAVote envisions a world that is inclusive, fair, and collaborative, and where Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities are self-determined, empowered, and engaged. “APIAVote operates under three distinct values, which are reflected in the strategic goals:

  • Increase AAPI civic participation, which is broadly defined as community involvement.
  • Increase partnerships by working together with a host of stakeholders.
  • Become the preeminent organization for AAPI electoral and civic engagement.
  • Develop fundraising and development plans to increase revenue.
  • Enhance APIAVote’s organizational capacity and operational capabilities.”