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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. ” – César Chávez, UFW

80,000 New, Unlikely Voters Enter California's Electorate

Oct. 25, 2016

In just three months, the Million Voters Project (MVP) exceeded its goal of bringing 75,000 first-time voters into California's electorate. As California’s largest statewide grassroots field campaign to mobilize voters, the Million Voters Project is expanding the electorate to better reflect the diversity and emerging majorities in the state. MVP reported that 81,217 new voters were registered by the October 24 registration deadline.

Thousands of community leaders organized across the state, focusing on communities most impacted by racial profiling, state violence, low wages, and underfunded schools and services. From prisons and welfare offices, to swap meets and Pokemon stops in 24 California counties, MVP reached out to register new voters and engage potential voters in places that traditional GOTV efforts often overlook. Yesterday was the last day to register to vote in California, but MVP will continue engaging people through Election Day to ensure a large voter turnout on November 8.

“MVP is shifting culture and inspiring a path toward equity, dignity, human rights and justice. The MVP partner organizations are creating this culture shift by blending traditional organizing and new technology — using text messaging, tablets and social media to register new voters and ensure they have the information and support they need to go to the polls on election day,” said Matt Nelson, Executive Director, Presente.org. "Digital platforms are having a huge impact on local organizing and voter engagement efforts. With MVP, we’ve created a one-stop digital platform that will continue to build presence and people power leading up to and long after the election.”

"Democracy cannot work for us until it includes us. This is just the first step towards engaging at least one million underrepresented and otherwise ignored voters in California by 2018. This is the scale and depth of engagement that we need In order to build a movement for racial, economic, and environmental justice that is powerful and lasting,” said Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN).

“With corporations, speculators, and real estate developers spending more and more in each election, our democratic processes are being bought and our communities are being undermined by big money special interests. Building a large base of voters across the state with other trusted partners, assures that we are able to secure real wins for our neighborhoods, on and off the election cycle," said Christina Livingston, Executive Director of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.​

“Registering new voters is just the first step in engaging the emerging California majority. This fall the Million Voters Project is leading the largest grassroots civic engagement program in the state to motivate these voters to the polls,” said Karla Zombro, California Calls Field Director. “ And our efforts won’t stop when the election is over. MVP will continue to engage voters one-on-one year round on policies that impact their communities.”

By building relationships with people directly, MVP ensures that voters not only get registered but turn out to the polls and become decision-makers on issues that are crucial for the well-being of our communities. Over the next two years, MVP’s targeted organizing will focus on reaching people one-on-one and inspiring people to vote consistently to shift power from big corporations and the wealthy to California’s new majority. MVP aims to turn out more than 450,000 voters on November 8 and build to one million by 2018.

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MVP is a collaboration of California’s strongest community-based networks: Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), California Calls, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV), and PICO California, with support from the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group, Presente.org.