SB1070 and The Hispanic Electorate in Arizona

There have been a couple of stories highlighting the impact of SB1070 on the Hispanic electorate in Arizona.

Nicolas Riccardi of the Los Angeles Times has a piece up entitled, Arizona's SB1070: Turning Anger on Immigration Law Into Votes, full article can be read here.

Rafael Robles has been eligible to vote ever since he became a U.S. citizen 23 years ago, but nothing has spurred him to register until two young activists visited his house here last week.

......Activists hope that SB 1070, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law in April and is scheduled to take effect July 29, will generate enough angry new Latino voters like Robles to reshape this state's hard-line approach to immigration.

The article  also focuses on the similarities between the voter drive initiated by activist groups after Prop 187 was passed in California.

......Many analysts and political scientists predict a similar outcome — eventually — in Arizona. Latinos, 30% of the population, are the fastest-growing and youngest demographic group in the state.

"It's the same energy I saw with 187," said Ben Monterroso, a Service Employees International Union official who spearheaded voter registration in California in 1994 and now oversees the Arizona operation. "People are saying enough is enough."

However Arizona, is not the same as California, in demographics or politics:

And Stan Barnes, a lobbyist and former Republican legislator in the Arizona Senate, said the state's crackdown on illegal immigrants would bring out other new voters — ones who support sealing the border.

"The average guy in Arizona believes that Mexico has become a narco state and that is coming to Arizona," Barnes said. "The fact that the Arizona government has rallied to confront that has energized a whole new electorate."

It's obvious which way the political wind is blowing in the state that has become the favorite illegal entry point from Mexico. Few candidates for statewide office here, even Democrats who opposed SB 1070, are openly sympathetic to illegal immigrants.

Activists are going after registered Hispanic voters, who have not voted in the past, but may vote because of SB1070:

Polls show that SB 1070 is popular in Arizona, except among Latinos; in the most lopsided survey, as much as 81% opposed it. The get-out-the-vote campaign, launched in June by a coalition of labor, community and religious groups, is trying to channel that outrage in November.

The canvassers target Latinos who are already registered but rarely vote. Latino voter turnout hovers about 35%, and about 60% of all Arizona voters went to the polls in the last off-year election. Sixteen percent of registered voters in the state are Latino.

Local news station KBHO CBS has a story up from Sarah Buduson entitled SB1070 Galvanizes Ariz. Latino Voters, full story here:

Arizona’s controversial immigration law has sparked a surge in interest in politics and the voting process among Latino voters, according to Francisco Heredia, the Arizona director of Mi Familia Vota.

"It did help us kind of create the momentum that we need to make sure we get Latinos out and vote this year,”

Heredia said he immediately noticed a difference in political participation after Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070 into law April 23.

"We've seen a tremendous increase by young people and people that have graduated college already. It kind of strikes an emotional chord with them that it goes too far,” Heredia said.

"We see in our office, we're ramping up our campaign every day, we see young people coming in volunteering, talking to people on the phone, going out canvassing.”

The article also highlights some of the challenges facing such a voter registration drive:

In Arizona, nearly half of eligible Latino voters are not registered to vote, Heredia said.

Heredia blamed Proposition 200, a voter-approved referendum that passed in 2004 and requires voters to present certain forms of identification to register, and apathy.

"I think it's a just a communitywide problem that we haven't emphasized civic participation as much as we should,” he said.

Mi Familia Vota and eight other Latino organizations are working together to ramp up voter participation in Arizona this fall because of SB 1070.

Heredia said it will work.