Voter registration effort paying off in Santa Paula

October 13, 2000
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe push has been on to register voters and its not just committed Democrats or Republicans that are knocking on doors and manning card tables at shopping centers: the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) has also been active in Santa Paula.Deputy City Clerk Josie Hernandez first had attended a SVREP conference on empowering Latinos in the political process and getting out the vote and has been involved in the registration effort.“We were out front of Vons by the door,” one recent weekend seeking to register new or moved voters, she said. “A lot people said they were registered,” but other SVREP workers targeted a parking lot sale with more success. “They registered 15 or more people that one day,” said Herrera.SVREP workers, housed in a Main Street office, have found most people very positive about registering.“I haven’t heard anything negative; most people we’ve approached were registered and most of those I spoke with were very positive,” about exercising their right to vote, she added.“Su voto es su voz” - your voice is your vote - is the SVREP motto, and effort co-coordinator Fred Cordova of Santa Paula, said the biggest challenge has been locating those eligible to vote but who are not registered.
Cordova has only been active with SVREP for a few weeks and said the push for registration has been “okay, we haven’t been getting a whole bunch of them because it’s difficult to find those not registered. . .”But the SVREP is trying, including visiting the Santa Paula campus of Ventura Community College East and “making lots of phone calls; we’re finding that many parents are registered but their children - now old enough to vote - are not. The best success I’ve had is on the telephone calling people from the phone list,” of registered voters. “I also just pick up the phone book and call people at random.”When you are registered by a group such as the SVREP, there are requirements that the form must be turned in to the county within three days. The Oct. 9 Columbus Day - a holiday for mail carriers - fell the day before the Oct. 10 registration deadline. “That kind of messed us up,” said Cordova but SVREP representatives said not to worry that county clerks are aware of the holiday break.In all, the SVREP effort has garnered about 200 registrations so far, he added, “not a ton, but every vote counts. The problem has been that some people say take the registration form with them. . .they’ve told us they don’t have time to register right then. I don’t know if they mailed them in but I hope they did. The ones we’ve been getting seem enthusiastic about registering and voting, and that’s been great.”

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