The 11th Hour: The push to get Latinos to the polls on Tuesday
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Mi Familia Vota volunteers are out every day in the searing heat and sometimes the pouring rain encouraging registered latino voters to get out and vote.
Mi Familia Vota is a statewide nonpartisan organization that's trying to boost civic participation among Latinos. For the past several months, a team of 7 volunteers and a handful of paid workers have canvassed neighborhoods in Southern Arizona.
With clipboards containing forms, names and addresses, Brianda Bustamante and Deyanira Martinez set out on Sunday afternoon to canvass a far westside neighborhood. They knocked on dozens of doors trying to convince registered voters to get to their polling place for the primary election on Tuesday.
After a brief exchange with one of the residents, who didn't want to chat, Deyanira left and marked on her form that the team might want to return on another day. Reporter Valerie Cavazos asked her, "So what are some of the excuses that people have for not voting?" She replied, "Oh it doesn't matter. My vote doesn't count anyway. Stuff like that."
Deyanira moved on to the next house, where she had better luck. She convinced the registered voter to fill out a form to be placed on the permanent early voting list. But Deyania wasn't done, the team is also gathering data for research on what issues matter the most to Latinos. Although one resident said education and social security topped her list, she said most latinos are concerned about the economy and immigration.
While Deyanira canvassed one side of the street, Brianda didn't have much luck on the other side. She said, "I can deal with the heat. I can deal with the dogs. It's when people don't answer the door. Opportunity lost. That's what it feels like.>
Unwavered, Brianda continues her quest because of her passion for encouraging civic participation. "I knocked on some older man door one time and he was like I haven't voted since clinton and I need to vote this year because everything that's going on is heartbreaking. 'So can I have a vote by mail?' I was like, of course. So that to me is like -- wow," she said.
Brianda continued on to the next house hoping for the chance to convince another latino on the other side of the door to vote.
Both women believe their efforts are worth it. They said data compiled by Mi Familia Vota shows more latinos are mailing in or handing in their ballots.
The team of volunteers plan to send a team to Nogales and Yuma before the general election.