Getting Out the Dominican Vote

(Photo by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer via Manhattan Times)

(Photo by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer via Manhattan Times)

Approximately half of New York State’s 762,000 Dominicans are eligible to vote, and Dominicanos USA (DUSA), a nonpartisan organization, is working to register them to vote, reports Robin Elisabeth Kilmer in Manhattan Times.

DUSA’s efforts, writes Kilmer, could end up having an impact in Manhattan, where state Sen. Adriano Espaillat is challenging incumbent Charles B. Rangel in a bid to become the first member of Congress of Dominican descent. The two meet in a primary June 24.

DUSA, which has been working in Rhode Island to register votes, recently worked the crowds in northern Manhattan. Eddie Cuesta, DUSA coordinator in New York, stressed that the group was not focusing on particular candidates, but rather on getting out the vote of eligible Dominicans.

The group’s representatives said it has canvassed all neighborhoods, and would continue to do so.

“It’s a cross-section of the community,” added Cuesta. “We have touched every zip code in the city.”

Though DUSA will register any who are eligible to vote, it is specifically seeking out Dominican voters in order to amplify the group’s collective electoral clout.

“For too long, the Dominican–American community has stood on the side-lines without a voice while others made decisions that were impacting our community and our families,” said Manuel Matos, attorney, community leader, and DUSA board member who also serves as the group’s spokesperson.

DUSA is using some new technologies to seek out eligible voters to register.

DUSA will use algorithms provided by two data companies, Catalist and Amicus, to help identify where it is expected that Dominican residents would be living. DUSA then seeks out individuals at their addresses.

“Wherever Dominicans are, we’ll find them,” said Cuesta.

To read about the efforts of one DUSA canvasser, Josue Pérez, and about the organization’s earlier successes in Rhode Island, where Dominicans are the fastest growing and largest ethnic group in the state, go to the original article.

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