Offering a glimpse of Sen. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at Invesco Field tomorrow in Denver, a top campaign official said Obama will announce an unprecedented effort to enroll new voters before the November election. Obama’s Latino Outreach Director, Temo Figueroa told Feet in 2 Worlds, “You’re going to be hearing tomorrow from Barack Obama the kick-off of the largest voter registration drive ever in a presidential campaign.”
Figueroa’s remarks followed a presentation to the Hispanic Caucus this morning in Denver where he characterized the resources the campaign will put into the program as, “mind boggling.”
“Tomorrow (in his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination) you are going to hear Sen. Barack Obama talk about voter registration and he’s going to mention some numbers that we’re going to be spending on voter registration through the month of September that will be mind boggling. That’s going to be a focus of his speech at Invesco,” Figueroa promised.
Figueroa also told FI2W that unlike past elections, the campaign will not “contract out” the job of registering voters.
“But we’re doing it in-house. We’re doing it with our own volunteers, with our own staff,” he said.
“We’re already making a dent,” he said. “The numbers are already showing what we’re doing in Virginia, what we’re doing in New Mexico, what we’re doing in Colorado and Nevada. It’s amazing.”
The Obama campaign’s emphasis on voter registration started even before Obama had won the primaries. On May 10th the campaign launched Vote for Change, a 50-state voter registration drive which was intended to lay the groundwork for a general election campaign.
“I believe the only way Barack Obama can win is we have to play in states we normally, as Democrats, never played in, and we have to bring new people in,” Figueroa said.
While Obama’s voter registration drive will target Americans all of backgrounds, the Obama campaign has previously pledged 20 million dollars on Latino outreach efforts including voter registration and paid media. The campaign has 400 Latino organizers and is training hundreds of volunteers to increase turnout among Latinos in key battleground states. In New Mexico alone, where an estimated 40,000 registered Latino voters didn’t got to the polls in 2004, Figueroa said the campaign has 29 field offices staffed by Latinos.
Stressing the point to the delegates at the Hispanic Caucus, Figueroa gave a Power Point presentation – complete with slides, maps and electoral math – that showed that Latinos can even make a difference in battleground states like Virginia if turnout is driven up just among currently registered voters. But he stressed repeatedly that even in Virginia there is a large group of unregistered Latinos that the campaign hopes to tap.
Acknowledging that many Latinos are still not familiar with Obama, Figueroa told the crowd that starting next week the campaign will go on air with Spanish-language ads in New Mexico, Nevada, Florida and Colorado to present Obama’s message and biography to Latino voters.