Denver: Volunteers aim to register 500,000 immigrant voters |

Denver: Volunteers aim to register 500,000 immigrant voters

Ashleigh Oldland
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado
Chris Schneider / The Rocky Mountain NewsMartha Carranza holds her grandson, Estevan Contreras, on Thursday during a news conference marking the launch of an effort to help more immigrants apply for citizenship and vote.Carranza, 51, is a new U.S. citizen from Mexico.

DENVER, Colorado ” Martha Carranza has lived in Denver for the past 27 years, but this is the first year she is going to vote.

She’s not alone.

Members of Ya Es Hora Coalition, We Are America Alliance Coalition of Colorado, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and Latina Initiative last week held a news conference to mark the launch of an effort to help more immigrants apply for citizenship and become a part of the civic process.

This year, volunteers hope to register 500,000 new Latino, Asian and immigrant voters in 13 states as well as encourage 1 million registered voters to go to the polls, said Rachel Hamrick with We Are America Alliance.

Carranza, 51, an immigrant from Mexico, is a new U.S. citizen. She said it is important to her to be involved in the voting process.

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“The life in the U.S. is completely different than Mexico,” Carranza said.

“I have rights here. I am respected. I have a voice and I am heard.”

Carranza works as a housekeeper and event caterer on top of baby-sitting her young grandson, Estevan.

She said she has educated herself by reading U.S. newspapers and magazines and hopes someday to complete her GED.

“To speak English was hard,” she said.

“I try to learn one new word a week.”

Among those at the news conference was Patricia Gonzalez, 15.

Gonzalez isn’t old enough to vote yet, but she volunteers for Latina Initiative and Latinas Increasing Political Strength so that she can encourage other Latinas to vote.

The T-shirt Gonzalez wore read: “I am Latina and I vote! Yo soy Latina y yo voto!”

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