New Immigrants May Change New York Election Outcome

The figures of newly registered voters in New York City from 2004 to 2007 are estimated at around 110,000. 38,000 of these people are new immigrants from Latin America, Asia and East Europe. This has a great deal of influence on next year’s upcoming local elections.

According to the New York Times, in the 1970s two-thirds of immigrants in New York were from Europe, while in the most recent two decades immigrants coming from Latin America, Asia and East Europe have greatly increased. The New York City census indicates that the number of languages in The City used by a large variety of ethnic groups is as high as 170.

Next year, The City will hold several local elections, including the election for Mayor, Auditor-General and for four Borough Presidents as well as re-election of two-thirds of a 51-seat City Council. According to the New York Election committee’s statistics, the City had 3,800,000 registered voters in 2007, and 676,000 of them were of Latin American lineage. Currently, the population of Latin American lineage voters has already surpassed the total added number of voters of Jewish, Italian and Irish descent in New York City.

The new immigrants live together mostly in the Queens Borough and Brooklyn Borough. A poll conducted by a metropolis research center under a municipally- established university, demonstrates that new immigrants, coming from different countries and with different cultural background, have different attitudes towards democratic elections and put different levels of effort towards the elections as well.

Essentially, new immigrants don’t get very involved in political activities. Therefore, while running an election campaign, in order to strive for the support of new immigrants, a candidate should take on new strategies different from the traditional strategies. In addition, it is likely that the new immigrants are not enthusiastic about elections because of their original background. For instance, the Russian immigrants do not trust the government highly and the Chinese immigrants are not familiar with the multi-political operations.

In order to gain immigrant voter support, a candidate who competes for a public post should map out campaigning strategies aimed at ethnic groups, such as putting ads in ethnic minority magazines or in their community newspapers. The New York Times, quoting an advisor who was once consulted by a Democratic candidate, pointed out that because New York’s immigrants have become increasingly multi-dimensional and increasingly complex, this kind of regional war is different from one district to another and from one street to another.

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