Voter Registration Campaign

More from this show

“Viva the Vote” is a voter registration campaign effort launched by One Arizona, a statewide coalition of civic engagement organizations. Their goal is to register thousands of voters across the state. Alejandra Gomez, executive director for the Arizona Center for Empowerment talks about the campaign.


JOSE: GOOD EVENING. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. "VIVA THE VOTE" IS A FIRST OF ITS KIND VOTER REGISTRATION CAMPAIGN EFFORT LAUNCHED THIS WEEK BY "ONE ARIZONA", A STATEWIDE COALITION OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS. THEIR GOAL IS TO REGISTER THOUSANDS OF VOTERS ACROSS THE STATE. JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THIS IS ALEJANDRA GOMEZ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE ARIZONA CENTER FOR EMPOWERMENT. THANKS FOR JOINING US ON HORIZONTE, ALEJANDRA. WE DESRCIBED THIS AS A FIRST OF ITS KIND. IN WHAT SENSE BECAUSE GUYS YOU HAVE BEEN AT THIS FOR A WHILE.

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: WE HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR SIX YEARS NOW OUT IN THE HEAT EVERY SUMMER. OUR YOUNG PEOPLE ARE REALLY MAKING SURE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE REGISTERING TO VOTE. IN TERMS OF THE SCALE SO

JOSE: THAT IS WHAT IS DIFFERENT TIME, THE SCALE.

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: THIS YEAR WE WILL REGISTER 75,000 PEOPLE TO VOTE AND THAT IS THE LARGEST WE HAVE GONE. WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT IT AND WE ARE VERY CONFIDENT THAT WE ARE GOING TO MAKE IT.

JOSE: YOU STARTED IN 2010?

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: WE STARTED IN 2010. "ONE ARIZONA" DEVELOPED OUT OF THE ASHES OF SB 1070. WE LIVED IN FEAR. WE NEEDED A RESPONSE TO REMIND OURSELVES WE HAVE POWER IN THE COMMUNITY AND DID THAT THROUGH VOTING. 14 ORGANIZATIONS CAME TOGETHER AND WE HAVE BEEN DOING VOTER REGISTRATION SINCE 2010.

JOSE: WHAT WAS THE RESULT IN 2010 IN TERMS OF THE NUMBERS?

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: 2010 WAS THE FIRST REAL INVESTMENT IN DOING CIVIC ENGAGEMENT. IT CAME THROUGH A VERY FEARFUL TIME, WHICH WAS SB 1070. SO THAT YEAR WE WERE ABLE TO REGISTER 13,000 PEOPLE TO VOTE.

JOSE: YOU ARE GOING FROM 13,000 TO 75,000? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO THAT?

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: IN 2012. WE ACTUALLY TESTED OURSELVES AGAIN. WE HIT 34,000. WE ARE WELL ON OUR WAY. WE HAVE OPERATIONS ALL ACROSS THE STATE. PARTNERS DOING VOTER REGISTRATION IN YUMA, PINAL COUNTY, PIMA COUNTY, MARICOPA COUNTY. WE HAVE VOLUNTEERS AND CANVASSERS OUT IN THE SCALES OF 30 40 PEOPLE.

JOSE: WHEN YOU SAY YOU ARE WELL ON YOUR WAY, HOW MANY PEOPLE SO FAR?

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: SO FAR 22,000 PEOPLE THAT WE HAVE RESGISTERED TO VOTE. THAT'S A REALLY GOOD NUMBER AND SCHOOL HASN'T EVEN STARTED YET SO WE WILL BE ABLE TO REGISTER WITHIN THE HIGH SCHOOLS AS WELL.

JOSE: HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DOING THIS? DO YOU SEND PEOPLE OUT TO TARGETED PRECINCTS OR COUNTIES?

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: ABSOLUTELY, THIS WORK IS A WORK OF PASSION. IT IS ABOUT REALLY CREATING A VISION WITH A COMMUNITY. A VISION OF CHANGE. AND IT IS A LOT OF MOTIVATION JUST FROM PEOPLE'S PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. SO PEOPLE COME IN SHARING THEIR STORIES THAT THEY ARE SCARED OF THEIR PARENTS BEING DEPORTED OR WE HAVE PARENTS THAT ARE COMING AND SAYING I WANT MY CHILD TO HAVE A BETTER FUTURE AND I DON'T WANT DEFERED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS TO GO AWAY.

JOSE: CHILDREN BROUGHT HERE BY THEIR PARENTS WITHOUT PAPERS BUT ARE ALLOWED TO STAY IN THE COUNTRY BECAUSE OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER.

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: THAT IS RIGHT AND THAT EXECUTIVE ORDER HAPPENED BECAUSE OF EFFORTS LIKE THIS. OUR POLITICIANS DIDN'T WAKE UP AND SAY I WILL GIVE THIS TO THE COMMUNITY. OUR COMMUNITY FOUGHT FOR IT AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT. THE WAY WE SHOW UP IS AT THE POLLS. THIS EFFORT IS A TESTAMENT TO THAT MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION THAT THE COMMUNITY HAS TO CHANGE THIS COMMUNITY FOR THE BETTER AND THE PEOPLE THAT ARE THE FUTURE THOSE YOUNG PEOPLE OUT THERE IN THE HEAT EVERY SINGLE DAY. THE WAY AN OPERATION LOOKS IS VOLUNTEERS COME IN AFTER HIGH SCHOOL AND DURING THEIR SUMMER VACATION. THEY SPENT THEIR SUMMER VACATION DOING VOTER REGISTRATION IN THE HEAT. THEY WILL GET TRAINED AND THEN THEY WILL RUN THROUGH WITH NEW VOLUNTEERS ON WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT ARE REQUIRED TO FILL OUT. THEN WE WILL HAVE PEOPLE THAT ARE VOLUNTEERING TO GO DRIVE THEM OUT TO THE TURF. IT WILL BE STORES, GASOLINE STATIONS, JUST EVERYWHERE.

JOSE: A LOT OF IT IS VOLUNTEER DRIVEN.

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: ABSOLUTELY.

JOSE: BUT SOME COSTS ARE INVOLVED AND WHERE DO YOU GET THE FUNDING TO PAY FOR THIS?

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: WE GET IT FROM DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS, FOUNDATIONS, PHILANTHROPY THAT ARE REALLY INVESTED IN THE WORK OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE AND SEEING COMMUNITY CHANGE.

JOSE: IT IS A NON PARTISAN EFFORT?

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: IT'S A NON-PARTISAN EFFORT, RIGHT.

JOSE: BACK IN 2010 IT WAS DRIVEN BY REACTION TO SB 1070. ARE YOU SEEING SOME OF THE EFFORTS OR RESPONSE YOU ARE GETTING IS DRIVEN BY REACTION TO DONALD TRUMP?

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: THE WAY THAT OUR COMMUNITY IS RESPONDING ABSOLUTELY. OUR COMMUNITY IS SAYING WE WANT THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN OFFICE. WE ARE NOT GOING TO STAND FOR ANYTHING LESS THAN THAT. THEY ARE GOING TO GO OUT AND VOTE THEIR CONSCIOUS. THAT MEANS THAT PEOPLE THAT REPRESENT THE VALUES THAT WANT TO SEE BETTER EDUCATION, THAT WANT TO SEE HEALTH CARE, THAT WANT TO SEE A PRO WORKER STATE, LIVABLE WAGE, ISSUES THAT REALLY MATTER AND NOT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT DIVISIONS AND CREATING FEAR IN THE COMMUNITY. WE HAVE ALREADY GONE THROUGH THAT CONVERSATION AND ARE NOT HAVING IT.

JOSE: HOW FAR DO YOU HAVE TO GET EVEN TO THOSE ISSUES AS OPPOSED TO SAYING YOU WANT A CANDIDATE THAT IS CERTAIN TO BUILD A WALL TO KEEP MEXICANS OUT OF THE COUNTRY AND SAYS AWFUL THINGS ABOUT MEXICANS.

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: I THINK WE NEED TO GO A LEVEL DEEPER. AS A COMMUNITY WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND WE ELECT OUR CANDIDATES. IF WE SHOW UP AT THE POLLS WE CAN VOTE FOR PEOPLE WE FEEL ARE FIT TO RUN OUR STATE LEGISLATURES, OUR CITY COUNCIL, FOR PRESIDENT. THAT MEANS THAT OUR ELECTORATE AND VOTERS ARE EDUCATED AND READY TO SHOW UP AT THE POLLS AND VOTE FOR THE RIGHT PEOPLE. THAT'S BEYOND THIS ELECTION. IT IS NOT ABOUT A PARTY OR A CANDIDATE. IT IS ABOUT ELECTING PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO VOTE FOR OUR VALUES.

JOSE: YOU GOT A BIG JOB AHEAD OF YOU.

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: WE HAVE A BIG JOB AHEAD OF US.

JOSE: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE" TO TALK ABOUT IT. THANK YOU.

ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Alejandra Gomez: Executive Director for the Arizona Center for Empowerment

5 woman performing for the Celtic Woman 20th Anniversary
airs Feb. 29

Celtic Woman 20th Anniversary Concert

A cute little duckling with text reading: Arizona PBS Ducks in a Row Event
March 6

Getting Your Ducks in a Row to Avoid Conflict When You Are Gone

A cactus blooms in the Sonoran Desert
airs Feb. 28

Desert Dreams: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert

Barry Gibb singing (Bee Gees: In Our Own Time)
aired Feb. 24

Bee Gees: In Our Own Time

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: