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Group wraps up south county voter drive
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — A group formed in response to Arizona's 2010 immigration law recently completed a voter registration drive in south Yuma County to sign up new voters in time for the November general election.
The campaign, conducted primarily by volunteers for the group Promise Arizona, began in February and continued throughout the year, registering 1,587 voters, according to Alicia Luna, regional coordinator for the group.
Promise Arizona formed in 2010 in opposition to the immigration law SB 1070, passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer.
One of the law's most controversial provisions requires Arizona police officers to check the immigration status of people they have stopped if they believe those people are in the country illegally. That part initially was suspended by a federal judge but later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
While the deadline has passed for registering to vote in the general election, Promise Arizona's efforts are not over, Luna said. “We are going to follow up with each of the people we registered to make sure that they vote.”
The group sees its mission as not only voter registration but promoting citizen involvement in the political process, she said.
Lizbeth Vasquez, one of the volunteers in the campaign, said lack of information has limited the participation of some Hispanics in elections.
“Many people didn't know where and how to vote. We found a lot of cases of people who have been citizens for many years without registering to vote for that reason — because they didn't know who to do it.”
“What I think has happened,” added another participant in the campaign, Nasheli Castro, “is that a lack of information has caused disinterest and that disinterest is passed on from parents to children.”