Voters of Color Key to Landslide Defeat of Recall

Community-Led Groups Point to Multi-Racial Democracy and Organizing as Essential to Winning Future CA Races

For Immediate Release: September 15, 2021

Press Contact: Stephanie Ong, (415) 786-5568, Stephanie@change-llc.com

Los Angeles  —  Today, the CHIRLA Action Fund and the Million Voter Project Action Fund held a press conference offering initial analysis to the recent election results showing Governor Newsom defeating the recall election by a landslide.  The groups credited their statewide Get Out the Vote Program targeting voters of color and young voters as essential to stopping the recall and to future ballot wins in California.

“This election wasn’t only about Governor Newsom,” said Joseph Tomás McKellar, Executive Director of PICO CA Action Fund. “It was about all the critical issues on the line for communities of color and low-income families in California. Latino, AAPI, Black, Indigenous, and youth voters turned out because of their desire for a more inclusive and equitable state with immigrant rights, criminal justice reform, climate justice and COVID safety. These voters were key to defeating the recall.”

“The tide turned because of the large-scale labor and community ground game, critical to building the grassroots momentum necessary to defeat the recall,” said Alma Hernandez, Executive Director at SEIU California. “We are more powerful when labor and community fight together to stand for California values.”

The Million Voters Project Action Fund joined the Stop the Recall campaign in early August when polling showed a close race and became the campaign’s largest ground operation. In just four weeks, the group made 3.5 million get-out-the-vote phone calls and knocked on 20,000 doors. More than 400 volunteers and paid staff made phone calls, knocked on doors with many braving extreme heat and weather conditions, and talked to voters in English, Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.  By the time polls closed last night, the group made over 230,000 direct one-to-one conversations with voters, reached another 700,000 through email and texts — in every region of the state, including Los Angeles, the Bay Area, San Diego, Orange County, Inland Empire, Central Valley, and Central Coast. 

For more than a decade, the seven organizations that make up the multi-racial coalition called Million Voters Project Action Fund have collectively built a political infrastructure in California designed to win statewide and regional races.  The group is activating the rising California majority by organizing Black, AAPI, Latino, and young voters and employing voter outreach programs with cultural competency and in multiple languages. 

“There is no one size fits all campaign in California” said Lydia Avila, Field Director of California Calls Action Fund. “Campaigns are not won by massive TV ad buys but through the sheer grit and hard work of on-the-ground organizing during and in between elections. Our Stop the Recall ground campaign met people where they are: in their communities, in their language, and on the issues they cared about the most.” 

Organizers for the Million Voters Project Action Fund also are building strong support  in the Asian American community, the fastest growing ethnic group in California and a constituency the Republican National Committee is targeting for midterm elections. 

Timmy Lu, Executive Director of AAPI FORCE organized Asian American voters statewide to defeat the recall. “This campaign clearly shows the potential for Asian American voters to be an important force for progress in California if we lead with messages that speak to our community’s concerns” he said. “Our organizers found that Asian American voters from San Diego to Sacramento are ready to uphold the public health policies that protect our families and neighbors from the pandemic, and oppose the divisive rhetoric that spurs anti-Asian violence.”

The Million Voters Project Action Fund leaders stressed the importance of investments in voters of color — beyond traditional party and labor strategies —  as a way to strengthen the democratic process and deliver results.  The group is clear that Republicans want to use California as a model on how to turn every state into a battleground state and are already looking to next year’s congressional midterm elections as the next big voter organizing effort. 

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About Million Voters Project Action Fund

Million Voters Project Action Fund is a C4 sister organization to the Million Voters Project, an alliance of 7 community-driven state and regional networks working to strengthen and expand democracy:  Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Civic Empowerment (AAPI FORCE), California Calls, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of California (CHIRLA), Power California, PICO California, and the Orange County Civic Engagement Table.

Bay Rising Action is a part of the Million Voters Project Action Fund coalition.