DUSA was featured in a recent Voices of New York story – Getting Out the Dominican Vote

DUSA was featured in a recent Voices of New York story – Getting Out the Dominican Vote

Canvassers from Dominicanos USA walk down the street in Corona, Queens. “We get to meet a lot of people and develop those bonds with the community,” says Yohan Diaz, left.

Canvassers from Dominicanos USA walk down the street in Corona, Queens. “We get to meet a lot of people and develop those bonds with the community,” says Yohan Diaz, left.

by Nomin Ujiyediin

After three years working as a canvasser in New York City, Austine Martinez has learned a lot. Like how to tell whether passersby are of Dominican descent – it’s everything from the music they play, to the language they’re speaking, to the way they look.
“Little things like that, you learn on the job,” he said on a sunny afternoon spent recruiting voters in Corona, Queens.

The knowledge comes in handy in his position as a junior organizer with Dominicanos USA, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in the Bronx. Alongside other canvassers, Martinez has spent hours at a time pounding the pavement in heavily Dominican and Latino neighborhoods across the city like Corona, Washington Heights, Inwood and Bushwick.

Since its inception in 2013, Dominicanos USA has registered more than 140,000 voters in the Northeast, including more than 100,000 in New York and more than 30,000 in Rhode Island, where a smaller office is based. The organization’s goal is to increase the political participation of Dominicans, the largest Latino ethnic group in the city, by enabling them to vote and helping them become naturalized citizens.

Its employees and volunteers knock on doors, hand out flyers and make phone calls. But the bulk of Dominicanos USA’s efforts are focused on sending trained canvassers, like Martinez, to walk through communities, along commercial corridors and past busy intersections, in search of unregistered voters.

“We have very dedicated canvassers of all ages that have been out there in rain, snow, cold weather, doing voter registration the old-fashioned way,” said the nonprofit’s national executive director Eddie Cuesta in a phone interview.

The organization targets specific neighborhoods and even buildings based on a statistical model developed by Catalist, a data company based in Washington, D.C. Called the “Dominican model,” it uses data from the census and the city government to identify areas with the highest concentrations of Dominicans. While Dominicanos USA doesn’t exclusively register Dominican voters, this approach helps the organization to efficiently find its primary demographic, said Cuesta. And it enhances traditional “get-out-the-vote” methods, like canvassing and setting up tables.

“We get to meet a lot of people and develop those bonds with the community,” said canvasser Yohan Diaz. At the same time, talking to strangers every day means learning to get used to rejection. Some people he approaches can’t vote because they are foreign citizens, and many are suspicious or just uninterested.

Speaking Spanish helps, of course. And so does persistence. “A lot of people say no, but there’s always that one person that makes it worth it,” Diaz said.

In Austine Martinez’s experience, non-citizens from the Dominican Republic are often the ones who wish they could register. “In DR, everyone votes. Politics are big,” he said.

In the United States, the concerns of Dominican voters don’t differ from those of other citizens, according to Cuesta. The economy, affordable housing, education and immigration are all on the minds of Dominican Americans. “They’re very politically savvy,” he said.

But there are certain aspects of voting in the United States that some immigrants aren’t familiar with, like needing to register for a specific party in order to vote in primary elections, or finding the right polling place. Local residents often call or visit the Dominicanos USA office on E. 149th Street in the Bronx to ask for help, said Cuesta. And educating these voters is part of the organization’s mission.

But since the deadline to register for the presidential election passed on Oct. 14, the organization has begun to focus on making sure that registered voters follow through.

On Election Day, Dominicanos USA will provide car rides and pedestrian escorts for voters who need them. Some employees will wait outside polling places before they open at 6 a.m., making sure that they open on time and that interpreters are present. Others will come back in the evening, when many people leave work and vote, to answer questions. Others will stay in the office to monitor the phones, which ring constantly, said Omar Suarez, New York state director.

For Suarez, Election Day begins at 4 a.m. and won’t end until late in the evening, after the polls close. But the long, hectic hours of directing employees and answering phone calls are worthwhile to reach a group he feels is underserved.

“Most of the talk about the Hispanic vote, the Latino vote, it’s all filtered through somebody. This is not filtered. You just talk to them,” he said.

source: Voices of NY

Dominicanos USA crea campaña para movilizar comunidad a votar:  Latinos dejarán sus huellas en las elecciones del 2016

Dominicanos USA crea campaña para movilizar comunidad a votar: Latinos dejarán sus huellas en las elecciones del 2016

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Nueva York, Nueva York — El martes, 8 de noviembre de 2016, 200 millones de votantes tendrán la oportunidad de elegir al próximo presidente o presidenta de los Estados Unidos de América, al igual que a los próximos representantes de sus respectivas comunidades. Estas históricas elecciones llevarán a las urnas al grupo de votantes más diverso en la historia. Según el centro de investigación Pew, personas de habla hispana, afro americanas, y asiáticas, comprenden un tercio de todos los votantes elegibles. Dominicanos USA (DUSA), una organización sin fines de lucro que aboga por el empoderamiento de los latinos, está comprometida a la movilización de los votantes para garantizar que participen en estas elecciones de 2016.

Durante estas cruciales elecciones, es importante que este año todos los votantes elegibles salgan a votar. Desde el 2013, Dominicanos USA (DUSA) ha llevado a cabo una agresiva campaña de votación (GOTV) para asegurar que los neoyorquinos ejerzan su derecho al voto. Hasta el momento, el equipo DUSA ha tocado casi 75.000 puertas, ha hecho más de 100.000 llamadas telefónicas y ha enviado más de 104.000 notificaciones por correo. Hasta la fecha, DUSA ha registrado más de 140.000 nuevos votantes en Nueva York, Nueva Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, y Pensilvania.

Iniciando este martes, 1 de noviembre y continuando hasta el día de las elecciones, el martes, 8 de noviembre, Dominicanos USA está trabajando vigorosamente para asegurar que los votantes elegibles salgan de sus hogares a votar. Se emplean dos estrategias para garantizar que los electores participen en estas históricas elecciones.
Nuestro equipo de banco telefónico, trabajando desde nuestra sede, se encarga de llamar a los electores a través de nuestro sistema telefónico de vanguardia para acordarles a los votantes que salgan a votar. El equipo de empadronadores empleará una táctica más personal, tocando las puertas de ciudadanos.

Como todos los votantes registrados al igual que jóvenes o milenarios—personas nacidas en la década de 1980 en adelante—tienen un gran interés en elegir a los próximos líderes dentro de sus comunidades locales, y a nivel nacional, al próximo presidente de los Estados Unidos. En los próximos años los milenarios sustituirán a los actuales líderes de sus comunidades, quienes conforman casi la mitad (44%) de los 27.3 millones de votantes hispanos. En comparación con otros grupos, la población dominicana en los Estados Unidos no solamente se encuentra entre la más joven, sino que también están entre los más comprometidos políticamente.

“Los dominico-americanos son muy apasionados en cuanto la política y a la vez buscan la manera de vocalizar sus preocupaciones como agentes de poder dentro de sus comunidades. Dominicanos USA proporciona el vehículo que permite que se produzca este intercambio”, dijo Eddie Cuesta, director ejecutivo nacional de Dominicanos USA (DUSA).

Dominicanos USA es un organización 501(c)(3) sin fines de lucro y no partidista que empodera a los dominico-americanos en los Estados Unidos a través del compromiso de DUSA en cuanto la integración cívica, social y económica. Entre la misión de DUSA esta registrar, educar y movilizar a la comunidad para salir a votar.

Dominicanos USA está aquí para ayudar a cualquier persona en necesidad de localizar o llegar a su sitio de votación correspondiente. Por favor, comuníquese con Lucy al 718-530-2258 o visite nuestro sitio web www.dominicanosusa.org para obtener información sobre como ejercer de su derecho al voto.

Dominicanos USA Gets Out the Vote:  Latinos to Leave Imprint on 2016 Elections

Dominicanos USA Gets Out the Vote: Latinos to Leave Imprint on 2016 Elections

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New York, New York — On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, 200 million registered voters will have the opportunity to elect the next president of the United States as well as the next congressional and state representatives from their respective communities. The historic 2016 general elections will bring about the most diverse group of voters in United States history. Latinos, African Americans, and Asian-descended people comprise nearly one-third of all eligible voters, according to Pew Research Center. Dominicanos USA (DUSA), a nonprofit organization that advocates for the empowerment of the Latino and Hispanic community, is engaged in mobilizing voters to ensure they participate in these crucial 2016 general elections.

During these pivotal 2016 elections, it is pertinent that all eligible registered voters go out and vote. Since 2013, Dominicanos USA (DUSA) has mounted an aggressive get out the vote (GOTV) campaign to ensure that eligible New Yorkers become active voters. Thus far this year, the DUSA team has knocked on nearly 75,000 doors, made more than 100,000 phone calls, and has sent more than 104,000 mail notifications. To date, DUSA has registered over 140,000 new voters in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

Starting yesterday, Tuesday, November 1, and running through Election Day on Tuesday, November 8, Dominicanos USA is working vigorously to ensure that eligible voters go out and vote. We employ two strategies to ensure that eligible voters participate in these historic elections. Our phone banking team—working from DUSA headquarters—is tasked with calling eligible voters through our state-of-the-art phone system to ensure voters leave their homes and vote. The canvassing team will employ a more hands on approach by knocking on people’s doors to remind citizens to vote.

Like all registered voters, millennials—people born in the 1980s and beyond—have a vested interest in electing the next leaders within their local communities and at the national level, the next president of the United States. In the next few years millenials will replace current leaders and become society’s next movers and shakers. Millennials comprise nearly half (44%) of the 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters. Compared to other groups, the Dominican population in the U.S. is among the youngest, but also among the most politically engaged.

“Dominican Americans are very passionate about politics and at the same time seek out the opportunity to voice their concerns and become brokers within their communities. Dominicanos USA provides the vehicle that allows for this exchange to occur,” said Eddie Cuesta, national director of Dominicanos USA (DUSA).

Dominicanos USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that empowers Dominican Americans in the United states through DUSA’s commitment to civic, social, and economic integration. Among DUSA’s goals are to register, educate, and mobilize communities of color to go out and vote.

Dominicanos USA is here to assist anyone in need of locating or getting to their appropriate polling site. Please call Lucy at 718-530-2258 or visit our website dominicanosusa.org for information on exercising your right to vote.