‘Boston Es Mi Ciudad’ (So Vote!)
If you watch much Univision or Telemundo, you’re soon going to become pretty familiar with the ad posted below, which has been provided to me in advance by ¿Oìste?, the Massachusetts organization behind the voter-participation effort.
The idea is to use the high-profile open mayoral race to encourage Boston’s Hispanic residents to register and vote. Fewer than half of the estimated 42,000 eligible Hispanics in the city are even registered to vote, and those who are tend to skip municipal elections. But then again, there hasn’t been a municipal election like this year’s for a long time. “We don’t want Latinos to miss out on this great opportunity,” says ¿Oìste? executive director Alejandra St. Guillen.
The local Univision and Telemundo stations have agreed to run the ad, free of charge, 21 times a week through the September 24 preliminary election, St. Guillen tells me. El Planeta and El Mundo are running full-page print ads. MegaBoston will air radio ads. Meanwhile, ¿Oìste? will disperse its foot soldiers to help convert the ads into action.
As you can see in the ad—whether you speak Spanish or not—the campaign is emphasizing pride in community, rather than big, polarizing issues. Big issues, particularly immigration reform, are more relevant in federal and state elections, St. Guillen says.
No doubt some will grumble that this all amounts to a huge effort and expenditure on behalf of Felix Arroyo, the only Hispanic mayoral candidate, and City Council candidates such as Ramon Soto. St. Guillen dismisses the notion. “This is not about the candidate; it’s about the voter,” she tells me. “We want to get Boston’s Latinos to vote. It’s up to the candidates to convince them who to use that vote for.”