Newsday: Voter Registration Day draws thousands

Voter Registration Day draws thousands

A coalition of Long Island advocates in minority group communities Tuesday celebrated registering more than 9,000 voters this year as those groups marked National Voter Registration Day.

The two dozen or so advocates vowed to continue their push to bring thousands more into the voting rolls and to encourage them to vote in municipal elections, hoping the effort will bring attention to issues of concern among voters of color.

“We are now getting really revved up and the next thing we are going to do is educate ourselves and educate our voters on the candidates that are coming up,” said Diane Goins, a member of New York Communities for Change, an advocacy group on issues affecting low- and moderate-income families.

“We are demanding that they [elected officials] listen to us now, OK? We want jobs, not just promises,” Goins added. “We want affordable housing. We want people to stay in their homes ... and we don’t want them to cut any more services to the kids.”

Daniel Altschuler, coordinator of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table that unites several advocacy efforts, said the thousands of new voters include many immigrants that recently became citizens and young residents who turned voting age.

They are largely black and Latino residents from neighborhoods such as Freeport, Hempstead and Elmont in Nassau County, and Brentwood, Central Islip and Gordon Heights in Suffolk County.

The voter-participation campaign will reach out to those voters, Lucía Gómez Jiménez, director of advocacy group La Fuente, said. “This is not just about registering,” she said. “This is about turning out to vote, this is about exercising their capacity as registered voters to turn out to public hearings.”


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