[Phoenix, AZ] Today, hundreds of election volunteers, members of UNITE HERE, and state legislators are holding a demonstration outside the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, where Arizona voters still await answers on the outcome of statewide races. Last week, the Arizona Secretary of State confirmed there are more than 450,000 uncounted votes in Maricopa County–one-third of the total ballots cast. With tens of thousands of votes still uncounted and Friday’s ballot count deadline looming, Arizonans are coming together to champion the real winner of this election: Arizona’s powerful bloc of new Latino voters.
This election marks the beginning of a "New Arizona." Arizona has been ground zero for the war on the Latino community in the U.S. In spite of the anti-immigrant attacks here, in the last year the Adios Arpaio campaign, driven largely by UNITE HERE, registered 35,000 new voters. 70% of those voters are Latino. In the election last week, Latino voting by mail more than doubled in Arizona, from 90,000 to 220,000. Latinos are projected to be 35% of the Arizona population by 2030, and 25% of registered voters. Republicans statewide, including the notorious anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio, are now changing their tune onimmigration in response to Arizona’s newly energized electorate.
The voter-registration drive in Maricopa County was led by 2,000 high school volunteers, many of them children of immigrants. Alonso Robles, a 17-year old volunteer from South Pointe High School in Phoenix, said, "I did this for my mom. She sacrificed so much to make my life, and my brothers’ and sisters’ lives, better. I chose to give back to her by standing up for my family and my community and helping people vote. I’m really proud to be a part of this movement–and we’re just getting started."
Democrats have achieved big wins in the state, and more may come as the votes are tallied. Democrats Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema won Congressional seats, andDemocrat Ron Barber leads in the race for Gabby Giffords’ former seat. Contrary to initial election results, Joe Arpaio is not the confirmed winner in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s race, and the same goes for the Senate faceoff between Democrat Richard Carmona and Republican Jeff Flake. County Recorder Helen Purcell admitted Wednesday shecould not certify the results. The delay in election results has been exacerbated because thousands of Arizonans were forced to vote on provisional ballots. To date, 90,000 provisional ballots have yet to be counted.
"I’m so proud of the work we’ve done. I know we’re making a difference in this community. A change is coming in Arizona, and we’re going to keep on winning," said Lucia Aguirre, the president of UNITE HERE Local 631 and a food service worker at Sky Harbor Airport.
Today’s action is the largest escalation to date in daily protests led by high schools students and UNITEHERE members since the election, who have been a constant presence outside the Elections Office since Election Day. Other participants in today’s action include Phoenix City Council members Michael Nowakowski and Daniel Valenzuela, Campaign for Arizona’s Future, Promise Arizona in Action, One Arizona Coalition, Citizens for a Better Arizona, MoveOn, and Presente.