Groups push to increase voter turnout in South Bay including in marginalized communities

Election Day is coming and there's a big effort to get people to cast their vote amid concerns of low voter turnout

Zach Fuentes Image
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Here's how groups are working to increase voter turnout in South Bay
Election Day is on March 5 and there's a big effort to get people to cast their vote in San Jose amid concerns of low voter turnout.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Election Day is one week away and there's a big effort to get people to cast their vote, especially those in marginalized communities

"I think people forget that we, the community, are the employers of our elected officials," said Carmen Brammer, CEO and founder of Global Majority Consulting.

Still officials and community groups are concerned with low turnout in primary elections.

"Look at four years ago in our last presidential primary election, where only 52%of our registered voters turned out and cast their ballot," said Santa Clara County Registrar Shannon Bushey, "So those 52% of people made the decision for 100% of the voters."

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As of Monday, in Santa Clara County 88,954 of 1,024,425 registered voters have submitted vote by mail ballots.

Local community groups are hard at work to increase voter turnout, many of them combining forces to form the Together We Vote Coalition.

"We bring candidates who may be running, people who have policies and other organizations to come and get the community exposed to them because so often communities are not aware of many of these things, then we started doing these candidate forums and we also do phone banking," Brammer said.

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Organizations like the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley have also been part of the efforts, hosting phone banking sessions and social media campaigns to try and reach voters who may not be inclined to turnout.

"Latinos are unfortunately one of the lower margins when it comes to voting," said Tatiana Villaseñor Carrillo with the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley, "We make up 30% of the population here in San Jose and that unfortunately is dwindling as we're seeing more and more families pushed out of our communities."

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Villaseñor Carrillo said the coalition is intentionally targeting other Latinas to not just vote but get the rest of their family and friends to do the same.

"We are the matriarch in our household, and systemic change really does come down to us and encouraging our future generations or older generations to come out and vote and really try to make a mark this election season," she said.

Brammer said many in Black and Brown communities get turned off to voting after years of not seeing the issues impacting them addressed.

But that's also why she said it's just as important for them to turn out.

"Because when you don't show up, they forget about you and they ignore you," Brammer said, "And it's critical that you continue to beat on the door because eventually you have to take your foot and kick it down."