Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NEVADA: Things are Going Smoothly Thanks to Great Phone Bank Volunteers!

The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada reports that things are going pretty smoothly. There have been a few cases where ex-felons who thought they were registered were purged from the voting rolls, but that's still legal, unfortunately. PLAN's staff and leaders are working with people who were purged on an individual basis to make sure they get re-registered with the correct procedures.

Here's another great update from our partner in Nevada!

Staffers and volunteers with various groups started the day in Nevada with a 6:30 a.m. literature drop focusing on communities of color. They followed up with media requests, providing rides to the polls and a phone bank that will keep going until the polls close at 7 p.m.

The phone bank is at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and the room is swamped with volunteers from various organizations.

Teresa Felix-Chavez, 48, is working with PLAN to get out the vote. She’s not just doing it for herself. She’s doing it for her 13 brothers and sisters.

Her sisters work in Las Vegas’ casinos, her brothers in construction. “Everybody is working,” she notes, a not-uncommon scenario for many families in Southern Nevada. Felix-Chavez became politically active during the 2004 elections, but she thinks this election is the Big Leagues.

“There is a big, big difference,” says Felix-Chavez, who spent Election Day working with PLAN and Center for Community Change staffers in a phone bank, along with about two dozen other people, many of them volunteers, working to get out the vote. “The difference is, there are many Hispanic people voting now. I think we’ve learned how important the vote is. For everybody, not just Hispanics.”

Felix-Chavez says people in this year’s election are focused on education, the economy and health care. The last issue is especially important to her because several years ago, she was involved in a car accident that crushed five vertebrae in her back. Felix-Chavez does not have health insurance, and like everyone in that situation, she struggles to find and pay for health care.

“We need universal health care,” she says.

Felix-Chavez joins Maria Sandoval Flores, 20, a College of Southern Nevada student, on the phone bank.

“This election is big, it’s huge,” says Sandoval Flores. “Any election is, but this election – we have a woman, we have an African American. I think we need people who don’t usually vote to get out and be heard, and that’s what PLAN is doing. We’re getting people that other people don’t care about.”

Sandoval Flores’ mother is a single mother of five. One brother, who has no health insurance, is dealing with kidney failure and has thousands of dollars in medical bills. So for her, the struggle for meaningful reforms to the health care system is personal.

So for the last several weeks, Sandoval Flores has been talking to about three-dozen people a night, working to get out the vote, one vote at a time.

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