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Latino Poll Wants Camejo In Gov. Debate
Latino Vote Could Swing Election

By Willie Monroe
Sep. 14 - KGO - A new poll out today shows there's interest in broadening the debate among the candidates for governor of California.

Peter Camejo, Green Party candidate: "The polls telling the truth about what the public wants is very good news for me. I should be in the debates too."

A poll commissioned by the Mexican American Political Association says 44% of those polled would like to see Green Party candidate Peter Camejo join the debate, even though support for his campaign lags around 6%.

ABC7's Willie Monroe: "But, your numbers are nowhere near Angelides and Schwarzenegger."

Peter Camejo: "No where. No where."

ABC7's Willie Monroe: "So why do you deserve to be in the debate?"

Peter Camejo: "Because people want me in the debate. It's not that I deserve, it's because the people deserve the right to choose."

The poll was conducted among people considered most likely to vote. But there's growing concern about getting people to the polls which historically have not been likely to turn out.

Asst. Prof. Melissa Michelson, Cal State East Bay: "I think the Latino vote is one of those things we keep talking about. It's this sleeping giant, and they're going to come out, and I think gradually the numbers in terms of participation are catching up to the numbers in terms of population, but it's still low."

Melissa Michelson is assistant professor of political science at Cal State East Bay in Hayward. She's working with ten community organizations around the state trying to get groups to vote who are under-represented at the polls. The strategies can be as simple as asking.

Melissa Michelson: "There's some really strong evidence, strong research evidence that shows that one of the reasons Latinos don't vote is because nobody asks them to."

As the only Latino candidate, Camejo is looking for help from Latino voters. The potential grows as potential voters remove obstacles that keep them from the polls.

Jose Hernandez, Oakland: "I'm not an American citizen, you know. I cannot vote, you know. But I'm in the process to become an American citizen, and I want to, and I'm going to."