Tag: election


Timeless Stories About Immigrant Life In America

A look at hard news coverage and in-depth features.


Podcast: For Latino Voters it’s Immigration & the Economy, Not Necessarily in that Order

What’s important to Latino voters this year? A preview of the conversation coming up on Thursday, Oct. 18 at the “Unlocking the Latino Vote” town hall at The New School.


Pro-Immigrant Protesters and Hispanic Media Confront Sheriff Arpaio in Southern California

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona was clearly enjoying his starring role at a series of fundraisers last week in Southern California.

The sheriff, known for his aggressive tactics against undocumented immigrants in and around Phoenix, happily chatted with reporters — even the citizen reporters that were part of a protest against him –at an event on Thursday in Anaheim, Orange County before heading to Mission Bay, San Diego, for a second fundraiser.

The self-described “toughest sheriff in the country” came to California to support an underdog sheriff´s candidate: Bill Hunt in Orange County. On Friday, he did the same for Jay La Sur in San Diego County in a move that is certain to bring the immigration issue to the fore in those races, both to be decided next year.

Watch Pilar Marrero’s video of Sheriff Arpaio’s visit to Anaheim, California.

At first, Arpaio seemed irritated by the protests that awaited him as he arrived at the event in Anaheim. But then he seemed to relish the opportunity to face the cameras in California as he often does in Arizona. “Why are they always following me? When I went to the O’Brien show and the Colbert show in New York they were there too,” he said to puzzled reporters who were asking him about his controversial law enforcement policies. (more…)

In Bolivia's Upcoming Presidential Election, Migrants Won't Just Watch From the Sidelines

By Jelena Kopanja, FI2W contributor

A 2008 campaign poster supporting President Evo Morales' changes to the Constitution - Photo: Chupacabras/Flickr

Campaign posters in Bolivia in 2008 supported President Evo Morales' changes to the Constitution. (Photo: Chupacabras/Flickr)

At Pike Pizza, a Bolivian restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, Bolivian patrons enjoy some of their country’s delicacies like salteñas, or the refreshing peach beverage, mocachinchi. These days, the conversation can often turn to why it is important to have the right to vote from abroad for Bolivia’s next president.

Bolivians will go to the polls on December 6 to elect a new president. The incumbent, leftist President Evo Morales currently leads his two more conservative rivals in public opinion polls. For the first time ever, Bolivians living abroad will be able to cast their ballots in the upcoming general election.

For Bolivians living in the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Spain – the four major destinations for Bolivian migrants – the right to vote was cemented in the new constitution passed earlier this year. Rodolfo Henrich Arauz, a representative of the Bolivian National Electoral Court, sees this as a victory after almost two decades of struggle for what he considers a fundamental right.

“The Bolivian people have to participate in political, economic, social and cultural life with the country. We live outside of the country, but we belong to the country, wherever we are,” he said.


Liu Becomes First Asian Elected to Citywide Office in New York

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Polish Daily News and FI2W reporter
Liu and his son Joey during Tuesday's victory party - Photo: Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska.

Liu and his son Joey during Tuesday’s victory party. (Photo: Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska)

[* Editor’s note: This article was amended to correct election results in the last paragraph.]

John C. Liu’s victory in the race for New York City comptroller on Tuesday marks the first time an Asian American has been elected to citywide office.

Ever since Liu won the Democratic nomination in a primary runoff on Sept. 29, excitement had been building in Asian neighborhoods — in Chinatown and Sunset Park, but especially in Flushing, Queens, the neighborhood where Liu lives and which he has represented for the last eight years in the city council. People constantly kept stopping him on the street to congratulate him.

“It takes a long time to walk now,” Liu said with a laugh recently.

Liu’s believes that his victory in the general election over Republican rival Joseph A. Mendola, and over three other Democratic candidates in the primary, was no accident. “We won this election in the streets,” he said, referring to his busy campaign schedule, which often included meeting average New Yorkers. Liu, 42, is also extremely meticulous and proper in his relations with people. He pays attention to the details and always returns phone calls from reporters.


Looking for Reelection, Mayor Bloomberg Courts Ethnic Press and Immigrant Voters

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Polish Daily News and FI2W reporter
Bloomberg promised to talk more to the citys ethnic media if hes reelected. (Photo: Aleksandra Slabisz)
Bloomberg promised to talk more to the city’s ethnic media if he’s reelected. (Photos: Aleksandra Slabisz)

With less than a month to go before the election that will decide whether he remains in office for a third term, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a plan to support New York’s immigrants, to be implemented if he is reelected.

Standing at the podium with a sign that read “City of Immigrants, Mike Bloomberg NYC” at the CUNY Graduate Center in midtown Manhattan, the mayor reminded a crowd consisting mostly of ethnic media reporters of his previous initiatives for the city’s immigrants and went on to praise their role in the city.

“Immigrants are why New York City became America’s economic engine,” Bloomberg stated. “In these tough times our city needs more immigrants, not fewer.”


Low Voter Turnout by Polish Immigrants in EU Election and a Debate Over Where to Focus Political Energy

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Polish Daily News and FI2W reporter
A Polish citizen votes in the European parliamentary elections in New York - Photo: Marcin Zurawicz

A Polish citizen votes in the European parliamentary elections in New York – Photo: Marcin Zurawicz

Polish immigrants have historically shown more interest in elections in their home country than in U.S. politics. But now the tables may have turned. At two polling sites in New York on Saturday, only 872 people cast their votes in the European Union parliamentary elections, according to consul Przemyslaw Balcerzyk of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York. That is approximately 10 times fewer than the total number who went to the polls in New York to vote in Polish parliamentary elections two years ago. Last November voters in the heavily Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn turned out in large numbers to vote in the presidential contest between Barack Obama and John McCain.

This was only the second time that Poles participated in an EU election, which typically attracts little attention even in countries that have been members of the European community for a long time. Only around 43% of the EU citizens voted this year, the lowest turnout since this type of election was first held in 1979.

In Poland the turnout was about 24.5%, which was actually more than 5 years ago, when approximately 20% of eligible Poles voted. But among Poles living in the U.S. the election stirred even less interest.


Not A Total Loss: Polish Voters in Chicago Energized Despite Unsuccessful Bid by Polish Candidate

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Polish Daily News and FI2W reporter

He didn’t win. But Dr. Victor Forys considers his bid to replace Rahm Emanuel in Illinois’ 5th Congressional District a huge success. Fory’s, a Polish immigrant, finished fourth out of a field of 12 candidates in the special March 3rd Democratic primary with approximately 12% of the vote. Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, who claimed the Democratic nomination, got 22% of the vote and is poised to win the congressional seat in a special election on April 7th

Dr. Forys

(Photo PolishNews.com)

Forys says his campaign mobilized Polish voters who in recent years have not been very active in politics, both in terms of voting or offering financial support to candidates. “We got them to like American politics, we got them excited about it, so this is not the end, this is just the beginning,” he said in a phone interview the day after the primary. Out of approximately 650,000 residents in the district, more than 17% claim Polish origins.

Forys, a well-known medical doctor, had hoped that low turnout among non-Polish voters combined with the support of his community would be enough for him to win. To a certain degree his plan worked. “I have never seen so many Polish people casting votes,” said Monika Mysliwiec who has worked as a Polish coordinator at the Chicago Board of Elections for the last 9 years. Approximately 300 Polish-speaking callers contacted the Board of Election’s hotline on primary day, mostly looking for their polling site. By comparison, on the day of the presidential election last November, about 100 Poles called. “Some people even called from other districts asking how they can vote for Forys,” said Mysliwiec.

Forys actually won in suburban Cook County where many Polish neighborhoods are located. He got approximately 22.5% of the Democratic votes in that part of the district.

In other areas his task was more difficult. Forys discovered that a tight network of connections and loyalties in Chicago’s political world does not favor outsiders.“Some older Polish Americans living in the city of Chicago have a strong personal relationship with the ward organizations. Moreover, it was an electorate that we couldn’t reach with the Polish media because they watch broadcast TV. We didn’t have enough money,” Forys said.

It also turned out that many Polish immigrants, not having participated in the political process before, didn’t realize they had to register to vote ahead of time. “We received many phone calls from people who thought that they could just go to a polling site with their ID and vote, just like it is in Poland,” said Mysliwiec.

Despite his loss, Poles residing in Chicago are proud of Forys’ attempt. “He changed the dynamics of this race taking away votes from long-time Chicago politicians and beating people like Patrick O’Connor, a Chicago alderman closely affiliated with Mayor Daley,” noted Malgorzata Ptaszynska of 1030 AM, WNVR, a local Polish radio station. “To other Democratic candidates who scored higher than him, like State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey, politics is daily work, while Forys just walked out of his medical clinic.”

Ptaszynska is also convinced that Forys “gave Poles hope and made them involved. Polonia was noticed and showed itself as a group that does vote after all.” For her it’s a clear signal that Polish immigrants are willing to participate in American politics if they are educated about the American system and believe that their votes matter.

That theory may be tested in the April 7the special election to replace Emanuel who is now White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama. “I really hope that Poles will go out and vote even though the Polish candidate didn’t make it,” noted Monika Mysliwiec.

As for Forys, he does not rule out running for another office in the future. “I’m a physician and I’m happy with my work. But never say never. And if I run again, I want to run for another significant office.”

He even joked that he would like to try his chances in a presidential bid.