New York City – Following a successful first year as the nation’s first and only voter registration, mobilization, and education organization geared towards Dominican American voters, Dominicanos USA (DUSA) on Thursday revealed it had registered more than 75,000 Dominican Americans in their first year of voter registration efforts, tripling the number of registrants since the organization’s launch last year.
DUSA also unveiled the findings of a groundbreaking political research project and focus groups on Dominican-American political perceptions and attitudes. The poll was conducted in partnership with Latino Decisions, a top Latino political opinion and research firm. The top findings include:
1) The most important issues to Dominican American voters and potential voters are jobs and the economy (29%), school reform and improvement (23%), and housing affordability (20%). Additionally, Healthcare (7%), and Immigration (13%) were also issues of concern. Priority issues also varied depending on specific geographic area.
2) Many of those surveyed believe there are considerable barriers to participation that keep them from fully integrating into civic life and that more advocacy would help in that regard. 91% of registered voters believe that more local Dominican-focused civic advocacy groups that help raise the voice of Dominican Americans are needed.
3) News consumption attitudes found that the majority (70%) of Dominican Americans surveyed, even those that had assimilated, preferred Spanish-language and bilingual news outlets to only English language outlets. Specifically 36% of Dominican American voters prefer to consume their information equally in both languages, while 34% prefer exclusively Spanish language.
4) There is a very strong transnationalism in the U.S.-based Dominican American community. 70% of Dominican-Americans surveyed feel a deep-rooted connection with the Dominican Republic that keep them interested in and knowledgeable about issues that are happening on the island nation. 43% have a medium level of engagement with island affairs while 27% are highly engaged.
“This first-of its kind, ground-breaking research commissioned by DUSA and executed by Latino Decisions, comes at the perfect time for our organization to prioritize and maximize our resources in order to educate and mobilize Dominican Americans on the issues they care most about,” said Manuel Matos, attorney, community leader, and DUSA board member who serves as the group’s spokesperson. “It also gives us an opportunity to continue learning the best and most effective ways to communicate to this vital and potentially powerful community who is hungry for better and more robust advocacy and help in navigating the democratic process so they can become full fledged participants in civic life.”
The survey findings, coupled with the unprecedented 75,000 voters DUSA has already registered in the last year, underscore the potential that exists for Dominican-American voters to become much more involved in local, state, and national elections.
“DUSA is answering this call to elevate the voice of Dominicans and we recognize that the work does not end with voter registration alone. We look forward to engaging many more Dominican American voters, helping them become the architects of their own futures and that of their families in this great country,” said Matos.
“According to the study, wages, jobs and the economy, education, and housing are the top issues of critical importance to our community, which underscores the misperception that Latino communities are only concerned with issues of immigration,” said Eddie Cuesta, DUSA’s New York State Director. “Moving forward, DUSA is committed to helping the community find meaningful ways of having their voices heard on these issues, and of holding their elected officials accountable to fully represent their community.”
Natalia Rosa, DUSA’s Rhode Island State Director noted that, “The research has presented a new lens through which we can understand both barriers and opportunities for our community in Rhode Island and New York. DUSA is committed to expanding this operation to ensure more Dominican American voters in feel like they have a seat at the table in our democratic process.”
Download DUSA Report -Dominican-American political perceptions and attitudes