By Alice Daniel
Daniela Simunovic, an organizer for Communities for a New California, works with Edgar Acevedo and another young canvasser to get out the vote in the central valley town of Sanger. (Photo: Alice Daniel)
Daniela Simunovic is an organizer for the non-profit group Communities for a New California. She’s advising students who are about to walk a neighborhood to register voters.
“What are you going to do if somebody says they don’t want to vote?” she asks her students.
“Ask them why not?” comes a reply.
“In a friendly tone, of course,” says one of the students.
These canvassers are working in the small Central Valley town of Sanger, where only half of the 12,000 potential Latino voters are registered. And even those who are registered aren’t voting. Just 1,200 Latino voters — out of those 12,000 potentials — cast a ballot in the 2010 election. While Latino voters have become an integral part of California politics, participation lags across the Valley.
More than 250,000 eligible Latino voters in the San Joaquin Valley have not registered
“If we were able to mobilize all the voters, we would really be able to change some outcomes in some elections on the issues that are important for our communities,” Simunovic says.
Those issues, she believes, include propositions on the November ballot. That’s why Communities for a New California is also conducting a fall campaign to inform Latino voters on propositions it feels are key to their interests, starting with labor rights and education. Continue reading