Turning out the vote in Gainesville City Council elections has been on the fore of candidates’ minds this year, and local students are doing their part to help.
Members of the University of North Georgia’s Latino Student Association and volunteers from the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials gathered at the school’s Gainesville campus Tuesday night for a phone banking party.
Hundreds of calls targeting registered minority voters were made one week ahead of the Nov. 3 elections.
The message was simple: No politicking, no electioneering. Just a reminder to vote and information about where to do so.
This same group of students and volunteers has been busy spring, summer and fall engaging voters.
Whether knocking on doors, placing phone calls or holding debates on the issues, they are trying to change the voting dynamic in Gainesville that has some calling for an end to the at-large election system.
Proponents of district voting believe it is more equitable and will ensure that minority candidates are elected to the City Council because only voters in a particular geographic area would be allowed to select a candidate from their ward to represent them.
“The electorate in Gainesville is not as engaged because elected officials have not paid attention to minority communities,” GALEO Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez said. “That’s changing with the work that we are doing.”