Four Thousand New Americans Registered to Vote

MIRA's year-long drive closes on the last day for voter registration


October 17, 2012 BOSTON — As voter registration in Massachusetts closes today, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy

"Candidates have too often taken their immigrant constituents for granted, or worse, used them as a scapegoats," said Marcony Almeida, MIRA's Organizing Director. "We wanted to empower new Americans to fight back by representing their own interests and those of their fellow immigrants at the ballot box. That's why we've been going to naturalization ceremonies around the state, offering people the opportunity to become registered voters as soon as they are sworn in as citizens." Coalition announced that it has registered 4,000 new American citizens to vote since late last spring, the largest number ever registered by the 25-year-old coalition.

In total, MIRA attended 20 swearing-in ceremonies in Boston, Lowell, Worcester, and Malden, registering voters with the help of volunteers and allies in the Brazilian Women's Group, the East Boston Ecumenical Community Council, MassVote, the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, ¿Oiste? and SEIU Local 615. Some ceremonies were easily covered by five volunteers and a staff person, but others, like the huge ceremony at TD Garden on September 11, required up to 100 volunteers to register over 900 new citizens.

"The vote of New Americans can be decisive, as we saw in the 2010 election, where Governor Patrick's highest percentages of victory were all in gateway immigrant cities like New Bedford, Lowell and Boston," Almeida said.

According to a study by the Immigration Policy Center, New Americans represent about 12% of registered voters in Massachusetts, a category that includes naturalized citizens and the U.S-born children of immigrants born since 1965, when the current era of heavy immigration from Asia and Latin America began.