Puerto Rico Governor To Announce Nation’s Largest Nonpartisan Hispanic Voter Registration Campaign Succeeded in Registering Over 300,000 Hispanic Voters
Over 100,000 Registered in Key Swing States Including FL, OH and PA
WASHINGTON -- From the steps of the Cannon House Office Building, Governor Sila M. Calderón will announce Tuesday that the Hispanic voter registration campaign has reached its goal of registering 300,000 voters and provide details about the impact these voters will have in upcoming local, state and national elections.
Calderón, Mari Carmen Aponte, executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, and Puerto Rican elected officials from across the country will also announce that PRFAA’s extensive grassroots empowerment operation has succeeded in meeting its goal of registering 300,000 voters before the 2004 presidential elections. Battleground states including Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio have large or rapidly growing Hispanic populations that will prove to be decisive in the upcoming elections.
The goal of Calderón’s ambitious empowerment initiative, “¡Que Nada Nos Detenga!” (“Let Nothing Stop Us!”) was to register 300,000 Puerto Rican and Hispanic voters — or nearly half the eligible yet unregistered Puerto Rican voters living in the states — thus enabling them to become actively engaged in the civic process in their local communities across the nation.
The campaign increased first-time voter turnout by more than 70% in the 2002 mid-term elections and effectively mobilized this pivotal voting block, ensuring that national, state and local leaders focus on issues that affect the Hispanic community in November.
Puerto Ricans on the Island vote at a higher rate than any state in the Union — over 85% — but when Puerto Ricans move to the mainland United States, voting rates in local elections drop to approximately 30-40%. The initiative has used education and grassroots outreach to reduce the physical and psychological barriers associated with voting to leverage the Hispanic vote in targeted geographic areas where their vote will have a significant impact.
¡Que Nada Nos Detenga! was a $12 million voter education and empowerment effort launched in July 2002 to encourage citizens to engage in their communities while demonstrating the combined power of the Puerto Rican vote. Local elected officials will be available for comment about the campaign’s impact in local communities.
PRFAA, which represents the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the United States, is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The agency is responsible for the advancement of Puerto Ricans on the island and the United States and serves as the advisor to the Governor, Resident Commissioner and constituents on all activities in the U.S. of interest to the island. PRFAA facilitates and promotes economic and public policy initiatives important to the growth and empowerment of all Puerto Rican communities.
PRFAA is located at 1100 17th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20036, and can be reached at 202-778-0710 or via the web at http://www.prfaa.com.
See related story I posted on this prsun blog in July.
the boricua vote here and there
By Clarisel Gonzalez, puertoricosun.com
San Juan - Two years ago, I had a Latino friend visit me from Texas and asked me what was up with "the commonwealth" status.
"What's that all about?" he asked.
Well, I explained to him that Puerto Ricans are US citizens and have to follow federal laws. But we don't have a right to vote for president or pay federal income taxes.
The way we are now I joked is like shacking up with a lover with limited benefits rather than getting married with all the benefits.
"Hey," he responded, "I prefer the lover then."
"Who wants to pay federal income taxes?" he asked.
If he were a Puerto Rican living here, he'd probably be for remaining a US commonwealth every time just because we don't have to pay federal income taxes.
"Voting for president is overrated," he joked.
If my friend were here, he probably would have been among the thousands who spent July 25th in Ponce celebrating the 52nd anniversary of Puerto Rico's government as a US commonwealth or "free associated state."
But it's more complicated than that.
While boricuas here vote in massive numbers in local elections, they can't vote for president. In Puerto Rico, we don't vote for federally elected officials and we don't have voting representation in Congress. There's something not too democratic about that.
For more, click on the July archives on this blog and look for full story.
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