Sacramento Latinos gear up for 'Get Out The Vote' campaign

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —Latinos are a key voting group in California, especially this year with immigration being such a hot button issue. On Sunday, organizers were going door-to-door in Sacramento to help get out the vote.

In California, the voter surge is on. Hundreds of thousands of Californians are registering to vote just ahead of California's historic presidential primary, which is scheduled for June 7.

"I'm ready to vote," said Phillip Calvillo, a Sacramento registered voter. "We've got to do something here."

In California, there has been a dramatic jump in voter registration.

"Between January and March of this year we saw 850,000 new registered voters in the state of California," KCRA 3 political analyst Steve Swatt said. "And I think you can basically say thanks to Donald Trump both positively and negatively."

Trump has polarized voters. His pledge to build a wall across the border, and to make Mexico pay for it, has generated strong reactions from people who either love him or hate him.

This year, the Latino community is vested in voting, with Latino registration up by 98 percent compared to 2012, according to an analysis by Capitol Weekly.

"This year obviously immigration is a huge issue on the ballot so I think it's important that people have a voice," La Familia Executive Director Rachel Rios said.

Phillip Calvillo told KCRA 3 he plans to vote on June 7th.

"It's all about getting the vote. Get all the Latinos out there, all the ethnic folks you got, to go out and vote. That's the only way we're going to have any changes. Trust me I'm an old hippie from the old days. We've got to vote," he said.

Community organizer Gabby Trejo of Sacramento Area Congregations Together told KCRA 3, "Just in California we're looking at 500,000 new Latino voters that have at least one parent that is undocumented."

She added, "It's time for us to wake up the giant."

"The Latino vote in California has always been a sleeping giant," Swatt told KCRA 3. "Look at the state of California right now. Fifteen million Latinos, that's 39 percent of the state of California, but they don't vote in near those numbers."

In fact, just 17 percent of Latinos are likely to vote, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. But that could change, Swatt told KCRA 3.

"If you have a foil out there, that helps drive people to the polls. And in this case for Latinos the foil is Donald Trump," he said.

Community activists are now registering as many people as they can prior to the May 23 deadline.

"So we're making sure everybody is registered to vote so that they can get their voices heard," said Maia Jaffe of the Latino Jewish Forum.

Getting everyone registered means registering all voters, including Kenneth Duncan of Sacramento, who signed up on Sunday.

"There's a lot of controversy in the world," Duncan told KCRA 3. "As a black man in America I feel like it is worth my voice being heard."

Republicans have a closed primary in California, which means only Republicans can vote. Democrats allow those with no party preference to vote in the June primary.

The latest registration numbers from the Secretary of State's Office reveal a dramatic rise in the number of voters with no party affiliation:

  • 24% No Party Preference (4,141,860)
  • 27.6% Republican (4,767,259)
  • 43.1% Democratic (7,438,655)

Click here to view the full story and watch the video on KCRA.