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  1. #1
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
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    Apr 2005

    Immigrants are gaining power in N.Y.'s voting booths ... 2815c.html

    They are arriving

    Immigrants are gaining power in N.Y.'s voting booths


    Politicians, pay attention.

    First-time immigrant voters accounted for almost the entire increase in turnout to the polls - about 191,000 votes - in New York City last November.

    In significant ways, immigrant voters in New York are defying the profile of the "American voter" constructed from more than 40 years of academic research on voting behavior. That profile, for the most part, has outlined the electorate as being distinctly upper class. The foreign-born voter in New York, however, is more likely to be a working-class person of color, female and living in a family with young children at home.

    A decade-and-a-half of high immigration and rapid economic restructuring, such as outsourcing, has many Americans feeling left behind. This, as well as terror attacks on the U.S. and abroad by foreign nationals, has led to a rise in xenophobia, with an ongoing assault on immigrant rights dating back at least to the Clinton administration.

    Immigrants and advocates have responded through increased organizing, coalition building, lobbying and public education campaigns. And they have begun to make connections among politics, policy and electoral clout by focusing their efforts on moving immigrant residents more rapidly toward citizenship and mobilizing them to vote.

    As a result, according to a recent report by the American Immigration Law Foundation that studied census data from 1996 and 2000, naturalization rates have increased since 1996, with new citizens accounting for more than half of the net increase in registered voters during the study period.

    The strategy to move immigrants to citizenship and then convert them into voters is being used in New York with stunning results. Exit poll data collected from the past three federal election cycles suggest that as many as one in three New York City voters is foreign-born. Moreover, since 2000, all of the increase in presidential voter turnout in New York can be attributed to first-time immigrant voters, with immigrants entering the electorate more than twice as fast as native-born voters.

    The trends among New York's immigrant voters also diverge with respect to partisanship and candidate choice. Although still heavily registered in the Democratic Party, immigrant voters lean Republican, giving a larger share of their votes to Gov. Pataki in 2002, and to President Bush last year, than native-born voters. This does not bode well for future Democratic mayoral candidates. Because many immigrants come here as adults, their political experience in their home countries leads them to a pragmatic rather than ideological approach toward the political parties, leaving immigrant voters somewhat immune to traditional party cues. But this is not necessarily bad. A more fluid orientation to the political parties could make for more competitive politics in New York, with the potential for improving candidate quality and enhancing the potency of issue-based appeals.

    Perhaps the process of becoming an American citizen, coupled with the mobilization efforts of politically sophisticated immigrant advocates, is the spur to higher rates of voting among registered new citizens.

    In a national climate of xenophobia, we have something to learn from immigrant voters in New York: Their enthusiasm for electoral participation and their pragmatic approach to the electoral choices before them suggest a path toward reducing partisan rancor and reaffirming the need for a more inclusive and dynamic democracy.

    Minnite is a political scientist at Barnard College. She co-conducted the New Americans Exit Poll in New York City.

    Originally published on July 24, 2005
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    What possible difference does MORE VOTERS have to winning an election?

    This excitement over MORE VOTERS is nonsense. They are going to vote either for Democrats, Republicans, occassionally an independent based upon a combination of the qualities of the "candidate" and/or the "platform". People are people and it makes no difference to the outcome of an election what the TOTAL VOTERS's how many that voted, voted for you!!

    What's happening with this insane obsession with "immigrants" and "latinos" and "hispanics" BOTH PARTIES are losing their base which consists of "immigrants", "latinos" and "hispanics".

    IN other words, we're all sick of all you politicians chasing illegal immigrants to try and achieve a voting block that will have absolutely no philosophical commitment to you and will blow the wind and cost you your election, your party and your jobs.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

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