Politics
3:29 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Getting Out the Vote in East Austin

East Austin community groups are set to continue a local voter turnout program.

The East Austin Voter Mobilization Initiative, which describes itself as “the first-ever voter coalition in Austin comprised of Latino, African American, immigrant and civil rights organizations,” is kicking off its third year of voter  outreach and education.

The coalition’s goal is to raise voter turnout by 15 to 20 percent in three East Austin precincts – 123, 426, and 427.

The National Council of La Raza and Reform Immigration for Texas serve as national and state partners. A long list of local orgnizations are also involved:  Southwest Key, PODER (People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources), ACLU-Texas, the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, LULAC District 12, El Concilio, the Austin Center for Peace & Justice, NAACP-Austin, the Austin Council of MoveOn.org and the University Leadership Initiative.

Organizers, like Southwest Key founder and CEO Juan Sanchez, say the area has been under-represented for years because of low voter turnout.

"Almost 30 percent of the families in communities like this live in poverty,” says Sanchez. “And so the only way that the quality of life of our community is going to change is by our people mobilizing in force and going out to the polls and voting and electing the people that are going to be representing and advocating for this community."

The initiative will start block-walking, distributing voter information and holding candidate forums in the coming weeks.