March 5, 2013
New American Voters Project has registered more than 5,500 new citizens to vote in the year since the program started
PORTLAND – Secretary of State Kate Brown today will present a national elections award to four Oregon community groups that pioneered a program to increase the voter registration rate of newly naturalized citizens.
The Center for Intercultural Organizing, CAUSA, the Asian Pacific Network of Oregon and Oregon Voice will be presented with an award from the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS).
“This is a great example of community groups working with their state and federal partners to tackle a signficant problem,” said Secretary Brown. “I am very proud to be presenting this award today.”
The award will be presented at 11 a.m. in Portland City Hall. Also in attendance will be Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Commissioner Nick Fish and Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, who is president of NASS. In addition, the Washington County Voter Assistance Team will receive a NASS award for piloting the use of tablet technology to assist voters with disabilities.
This afternoon at 2 p.m., Secretary Brown and Secretary Miller will attend a naturalization ceremony to observe the New American Voters Project in action. Miller is interested in the program to see how it can be utilized more widely in his state, and to share with other NASS members.The New American Voters Project is a cooperative effort between non-partisan community groups, the Oregon Secretary of State’s office and the Portland Field Office of the United States Citzenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Starting February 28, 2012, the Center for Intercultural Organizing, CAUSA, Asian Pacific Network of Oregon, and Oregon Voice have provided multilingual volunteers at naturalization ceremonies. At the tail end of the process, new citizens are given the opportunity to register to vote.
The results have been stellar. In the first year of the project, 5,633 out of 6,194 newly naturalized citizens were registered to vote. That’s a rate of 90%. By contrast, just 1 in 2 naturalized citizens were registered to vote on election day in 2010.
This collaborative partnership will go a long way towards turning around the historically low trends of voter engagement in immigrant and refugee communities.
The media is invited to attend both the City Hall awards presentation and the naturalization ceremony.
Portland City Hall: 1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR, 97204
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: 1455 NW Overton St., Portland, OR 97209
USCIS Contact: Sharon Rummery (415) 987-0191 Sharon.Rummery@uscis.dhs.gov