By One Arizona
One Arizona is the only statewide coalition focused on the Latino civic engagement experience. Because Latinos are Arizona’s fastest growing demographic, understanding our role as voters and how we can shape Arizona politics and policy is fundamental to the strength of our state, not just today, but for the Arizona we want to leave to our children.
One Arizona is comprised of 12 nonprofit organizations. These nonprofits address the various needs of Arizonans through a broad spectrum of services, but have united under a specific civic engagement banner to increase access and opportunity for Arizonans to have their voice heard through the ballot box. We have already begun our work for 2012, and will continue to engage eligible voters from now through Election Day.
Since the summer of 2010, One Arizona’s coalition members have been working arduously to increase the Latino presence in all aspects of civic engagement: citizenship, voter registration, voter turnout, voter education, election protection and leadership development.
During the mid-term elections of 2010, One Arizona hit the streets to mobilize the growing Latino electorate. One Arizona partners led the largest coordinated Latino civic engagement effort in our state’s history, signing up more than 48,000 infrequent Latino voters on the permanent early voter list (vote by mail) and registering thousands of first-time Latino voters. Our collaborative field efforts contacted a total of 234,845 Latino voters. These are voters who normally would not have been contacted or engaged in the electoral process by candidates and political parties.
Not only did this effort work at growing Arizona’s voting bloc, but Latino Decisions indicated that, in 2010, Arizona had the largest turnout of Latino voters compared with any other state. This ambitious and successful program targeted Latinos less likely to vote, based on prior voting patterns or recent voter registration, with a focus on early voting through mail-in ballots. That year, we turned out over 90,000 voters, 38 percent of our targeted outreach. This turnout compares with a 32 percent turnout among all Latino voters in 2006. The greatest increase in turnout was among younger voters and women.
One Arizona’s intense efforts expanded the Latino vote share from 11 to 13 percent in one election cycle alone. Of all the Southwestern states, Arizona had the greatest increase in the number of votes cast by Latinos (23 percent, in an analysis comparing 2006 and 2010). Perhaps most importantly, the presumption that the Latino electorate won’t turn out at the polls is beginning to change.
One Arizona built on the success of its 2010 efforts in the 2011 Phoenix municipal elections. Targeting folks in the Latino community who had not voted in the last two municipal election cycles, One Arizona reached out to explain the importance of voting and how it impacts communities. This target group of likely non-voters saw a voter turnout rate just seven percentage points lower than the overall turnout rate for all voters. There is a strong likelihood that many of these targeted Latino voters would not have voted in 2011 without the efforts of the One Arizona coalition.
This year, One Arizona is committed to turning out 100,000 Latino voters in Arizona through the combined strategies of voter registration, voter mobilization, town halls and voter education.
Our work is far from over. When it comes to the Latino voter, we know we have been working with a deficit, and that lack of voter participation in our community will not be resolved in one or two election cycles. Our team at One Arizona is committed to making civic engagement part of the Latino experience and increasing voter turnout today to create the voters of tomorrow. Latino means “family,” and our children are the fuel that drives us to work harder and be better at home, in the work place, and, now, in the voting booth.
One Arizona is a statewide, nonpartisan, collaborative civic engagement effort made up of the following nonprofits: Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, Arizona Center for Empowerment, Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, Border Action Network, Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, NALEO, Promise Arizona, PAFCO, Puente, Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ, and Voto Latino.