A first-of-its-kind media campaign launches in Arizona on Wednesday in hopes of boosting Hispanic voter registration to historic highs.
A new public service announcement co-produced by the state's largest Spanish-language television and radio stations is set to air roughly 2,500 times through Election Day on Univision and Telemundo television stations and will feature DJs and talk show hosts from some of the state's most popular Spanish-language radio stations, according to organizers.
The campaign is the brainchild of Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan voter registration group that is seeking to register roughly 95,000 new Latino voters in six states this year. While volunteers are rounding up new registrants in California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Texas, Arizona is seen as the crown jewel of the effort this year. That's because no other state has been on the front lines of the years-long immigration policy fights and Hispanic leaders are eager to demonstrate their community's growing political clout in the state.
Recent polls show Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton neck-and-neck with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. But there are two other races of note in the state: The reelections of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- a world-renowned champion of strict immigration enforcement who is widely loathed across Hispanic America for his support of strict border controls and use of racial profiling to round up undocumented immigrants. The Justice Department may soon decide whether to charge him with federal contempt-of-court charges for defying orders to stop using his racial profiling tactics.
Fresh voter registration data shows surging interest in this year's elections, with Republicans topping voter rolls for the first time in several years over independent voters. But Democratic registration is climbing faster, according to local news reports, a sign that various attempts to register more Hispanics -- who predominantly register as Democrats -- is working.
Since the March primaries, Republican registrations have jumped 4.6 percent to 1.185 million; independent registrations have dropped 1.6 percent to 1.164 million; while Democratic registrations have jumped 7 percent to 1.019 million. In Maricopa County -- the state's largest -- Democrats have seen a 13 percent registration increase (66,000 new voters) since 2012, compared to a 7.6 percent jump for Republicans (53,000 new voters) over the same time period, according to KPNX-TV.
No matter how a new voter registers, Mi Familia Vota is hoping to boost the numbers with its new ad campaign, which stars Spanish-language television and radio news anchors and morning talk show hosts. Here's a 60-second version of the ad:
The ad begins with anchors asking whether the viewer is 18 or older and registered to vote. It reminds the viewer that voter registration continues in Arizona through Oct. 10.
"Your vote does count and in these elections, your future is at stake," says Everk Sanchez, a radio news anchor.
"We are extremely proud of our Latino media partners," said Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota. "They are making history in an already historic election by continuing to help build political power for the Latino community."
The campaign is backed by Azteca America; the Phoenix and Tucson affiliates of Univision and Telemundo; Univision-owned radio stations Que Buena 105.9 FM, Mas Variedad 106.3 FM and Latino Mix 100.3 FM; Contacto Total, a Phoenix-area radio station; stations owned by Entravision Radio, including La Tricolor 103.5 FM, Jose 106.9 and 107.1 FM & ESPN 710 AM; Mary Rabago Productions LLC; Mujeres Unicas LLC; Onda 1190-AM; Prensa Hispana; Teleritmo; and UniMás Arizona.
Univision and Telemundo, through their corporate parents, are operating separate national voter registration campaigns, seeking to register millions of new voters.