“Es Nuestro Turno, It’s Our Turn”
outreach project is a continuation of efforts to register
Spanish-speaking Latino voters and encourage them to head to the
polls. The initiative includes a follow-up effort to see if
those voters actually cast ballots in order to measure its
“We will continue to work closely with the Spanish Language
Advisory Board and look forward to expanding our efforts to
educate Hispanic voters and encourage them to take part in
elections as voters and poll workers,” Pat McDonald,
director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections said in a
recent press release.
The outreach project is a
collaborative effort between the board of elections bilingual
coordinator, other elections agency staff, volunteers from
Latino community groups, and faith-based leaders who work within
the Hispanic community.
For example, leaders within the faith-based community would
recruit a church liaison and provide voter education training to
those liaisons, which would, in turn, educate and register
members of their congregation. In addition, voters would sign a
voter tracking pledge card.
Spanish Language Advisory Board
of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is spearheading
the effort. The Latino community has had a long-standing problem
of very low turn-out in all elections. As a result, Latinos have
minimized their influence in choosing their elected officials,
especially among the Spanish-speaking community.
Organizers of the
“Es Nuestro Turno” (It’s Our Turn) initiative are inviting
community groups and activists to attend an informational
meeting on Wed., May 21, 2014, 4 p.m., at El Barrio/ The
Center for Families and Children, 5209 Detroit Ave. in
Cleveland. The group is seeking volunteers to help spread the
word about the effort. [See article on El Barrio on page 16
of La Prensa’s hardcopy or online at laprensa1.com.]
The board of elections will create a database registry with the
pledge cards and the voter registration cards collected. The
signed pledge card gives volunteers and board of elections staff
permission to call, text, or email Spanish-speaking voters with
voting information updates. Voter contact is expected to begin
three months before the election with the follow-up phone calls
and messages. After the election, voter history information
would be used to see if they actually voted.
Latino community partners will be asked to assist by scheduling
educational classes on the subject of “Why you should vote”;
registering voters and collecting pledge cards; motivating
voters through personal contact with family and friends;
inviting other groups and agencies to participate; and
identifying trusted agencies that will provide volunteers to
help maintain the voter database and conduct follow-up calls and
e-mails to voters who have agreed to be part of the program.
The Cuyahoga County
Board of Elections will continue to make bilingual ballots
and all other voting materials available in
Spanish and English. A 2010
Federal consent decree between the board of elections and the
U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) expired on March 30. The agreement
included providing bilingual ballots and other voting materials
to Spanish-speaking voters.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections provided a special
hotline for Spanish speaking voters during the May 6 primary.
Voting instructions and a large sample ballot were provided in
English and Spanish, as well as bilingual poll workers provided
in voting precincts with large numbers of Spanish-speaking
voters. The board of elections already has committed to continue
Spanish version of its website, Facebook page, and retain the
services of its bilingual coordinator. Any new documents
created by the board of elections also will be bilingual.