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Young People Work to Boost Latino AZ Primary Turnout

Petra Falcon with volunteers  Photo Credit: Doug Ramsey
Petra Falcon with volunteers Photo Credit: Doug Ramsey
August 28, 2012

PHOENIX - Hundreds of young Latino volunteers with the group "Promise Arizona in Action" (PAZ in Action) have spent the summer registering more than 8,400 new voters across the state. During today's primary election, they are making sure those new voters cast their ballots.

Volunteer Karen Guzman, who is 19 and will be voting in her first election today, decided to get involved in the political process when lawmakers passed Arizona's controversial SB 1070 immigration law.

"I am also involved in Promise Arizona in Action because I am tired of people in my community being unfairly judged by others, being profiled, being targeted for thinking we are criminals or for being less worthy of respect as human beings."

More than 800 volunteers are working today to get voters to the polls, going door-to-door, making phone calls and providing transportation. Arizona's voting-age Latino population is projected to nearly triple in the next 20 years.

Promise Arizona director Petra Falcon hopes her group's effort will make a dent in the historically-low voter turnout numbers for Latinos.

"We want to make sure that they are voting, not only in general elections but in primary elections year after year, and to bring together the voters from across the lines so that we can sit together and really address the issues of our state."

Falcon reminds voters who still have their early ballots not to mail them in.

"It is too late to put it in the mail, and your vote will not count. Vote your ballot, seal it and take it to any polling place."

Falcon says the primary is just as important as the general election because in many districts the winner of the primary faces no opposition in the general. She says the Promise Arizona voter registration drive will continue through October 9, the deadline to register for the November general election.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ