A bond question was included on the ballot during a city election in March, 2012 to expand trail connectivity and create the first regional park in Santa Fe’s South Side. The South Side is an area composed largely of low-income people of color and is disproportionately lacking in infrastructure.
Winning the bond election helped us move our mission forward, but also presented a unique challenge for us because we had never conducted a voter campaign before. In addition, many of our members feel so disenfranchised by the system that they rarely vote and many others are not able to register to vote at all.
We launched a voter registration and education campaign called Votante Pa’Lante to educate our community about this election. We focused on “unlikely” Latino voters in low-income areas of the South Side that are often overlooked by traditional voter campaigns. This campaign allowed us to expand our capacity for community education about the unjust city planning and gentrification that drives the need for expansive transit systems affecting residents of the South Side.
Through our outreach, we created a list of nearly 2,000 people. Our get-out-the-vote efforts on election day documented mobilizing roughly 300 people to vote. We are confidant that several more people wore moved to vote through this campaign, many of whom engaged in the electoral process for the first time. the bond question we were focused on passed by a slim margin of just over 300 votes with our targeted precincts reporting overwhelming support.