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NY Voter Drive Nets 4,500 – Budget Cuts Inspiring Some to Register on LI

PHOTO: A voter registration drive that started this summer is reporting success in registering more than five-hundred new New York voters.
PHOTO: A voter registration drive that started this summer is reporting success in registering more than five-hundred new New York voters.
October 19, 2012

NEW YORK – A voter registration drive on Long Island outside of New York City is reporting success in registering more than 4,500 new voters. Some of them say they plan to vote because of cuts in federal programs.

Twenty-year-old Demetrius Labozetta is an organizer with Youth Enrichment Services in Suffolk County. He just registered to vote as part of a drive that targeted low-income communities and people of color. Labozetta says young people like him need to vote in this election, because he says budget cuts have had a disproportional impact on working-class neighborhoods.

"There's been a lot of budget cuts for after-school programs that a lot of our students are really involved in. I feel like my voice needs to be heard."

In all, 20 community, service and labor organizations participated in get-out-the-vote efforts in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Daniel Altschuler, coordinator for the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, says communities of color now make up 25 percent of the population on Long Island, and he believes it is critical that they make up a similar percentage when it comes time to vote.

"Nationwide, Latinos and immigrants are less likely to be registered to vote, and that's why this type of effort that we have undertaken is so important - to make sure that people are able to cast their ballots on Election Day."

Altschuler says the registration drive was just a first step, and now his group will be out canvassing and making phone calls to be sure these new registered voters follow through and vote on November 6.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY