“We’ve seen the disastrous effects of Trump’s time in office. We need change, and it starts with showing up at the polls on November 3.”
A coalition known as Mi AZ came together in 2018 with a very specific goal: to gather at least one million votes against President Donald Trump in the upcoming November election.
Progress Arizona executive director Emily Kirkland tells The Copper Courier that groups like LUCHA and Mi Familia Vota have been working for years to activate voters — particularly young people and people of color.
“They decided to come together and launch a joint effort to push for record-breaking turnout in the 2018 election,” Kirkland explains. “That effort was successful, and the group is undertaking a similar campaign this year with an even more ambitious goal: mobilizing one million voters to the polls to defeat Trump and elect progressive candidates up and down the ballot.”
Volunteers and organizers with Mi AZ knocked on over a million doors during the 2018 election season to help turn out a record number of voters for the midterm. Kirkland counts that as one of the group’s greatest achievements — so far.
Why is participation in this year’s general election more important than ever? Kirkland doesn’t mince words. “We’ve seen the disastrous effects of Trump’s time in office. We need change, and it starts with showing up at the polls on November 3.”
Those interested in getting involved with Mi AZ or helping out in their efforts to gather votes against the current President can text “AZ2020” to 79606 or go to MiAZ.us to either donate to help the organization or sign up as a volunteer.
“This is a set of organizations that have been fighting together, many have been collaborating together, since the passage of SB 1070 in 2010,” said Kirkland, referencing the tough-on-immigrants law.
She said the coalition has grown the capacity to run efficient and large-scale campaigns to turn voters out.
At least one of the groups involved, Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy, has resumed door-to-door registration efforts, but the campaign will be held mostly via text messages, digital ads and phone banking.
The effort also comes as Arizona is increasingly considered a battleground state where Latinos in particular could have a major impact. It also comes at a time when they are being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus with higher rates of infection, hospitalization and job loss.
Latinos account for nearly a quarter of registered voters in Arizona, but have had lower-than-expected turnout in past presidential elections. U.S. Census data shows that 47% of eligible Hispanic voters in Arizona cast a ballot in 2016, compared to nearly 63% of eligible white voters.
Emma Hall, spokesperson for Trump Victory, a joint effort between the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee, said the group has kept a permanent presence in Arizona since 2016 and has built long-lasting relationships with over 3 million voters.
“While Joe Biden has to rely on outside groups to bail him out for decades of failed policies that have disproportionately hurt Latino families, President Trump has spent the past four years ensuring every Arizonan achieves the American Dream,” Hall said in a statement.
Youths also have lower voting turnout in Arizona than their older counterparts. According to Census data, 40 percent of eligible voters who are between ages 18 and 24 cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election; nearly 52% of those 25 to 34 voted.
Still, advocates are encouraged by a strong turnout in the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrat Kyrsten Sinema beat Republican Martha McSally for a Senate seat. Later, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appointed McSally to the state’s other Senate seat, which was briefly held by former Sen. Jon Kyl after John McCain’s passing. McSally is now in tight reelection battle with Democrat Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut.
The AP contributed to this report.