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MOVING AMERICA FORWARD:  Bill Richardson's Vision to Build the Hispanic-Latino Vote




Going into the 2004 General Election, there was no question that the Hispanic and Latino vote across the U.S. would decide the outcome of elections up and down the ballot, and potentially the Presidency itself. In the key states of Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, the Latino vote had historically lagged behind population estimates, greatly under representing an important and ever-growing voice on Election Day.


New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson hired Burnside & Associates to design and lead a multi state  voter registration drive to register Hispanics  in key states, and provide a bilingual get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaign encompassing vote by mail, early vote and Election Day education to consequently, influence the 2004 elections.  





Burnside & Associates identified key Hispanic and Latino precincts in five states where the number of eligible Latino voters were greater than the number of registered Latino voters. The program would impact state and federal races by increasing Hispanic voter participation in the areas Democratic candidates needed it most. In addition to targeting new citizens and eligible Latinos for registration, Moving America Forward (MAF) also focused considerable time and resources on contacting Hispanic voters who had previously registered to vote but had an occasional voting history.


The end goal was clear, MAF would need to register 214,293 new Hispanic voters and target an additional 923,392 sporadic Latino voters for GOTV efforts.  To reach this goal, Burnside & Associates:


  • Developed and implemented a comprehensive voter registration program, utilizing door to door contact, site registration and mail to engage potential voters.  As the program progressed, an astounding 50% of all newly registered Latino voters signed up to vote by mail as they registered.  In all,, 223,717 new Hispanic voters were registered to vote - of which 115,902 also signed up to vote by mail at the time of registration.
  • Utilizing well-trained, bilingual, and highly targeted field organizers, Burnside & Associates contacted roughly 1million additional occasional Hispanic voters by phone, mail and canvass in the hopes of increasing turnout in the Hispanic community and increasing the Latino voice in the political process.  Vote by mail was the primary tool - some 289,292Hispanics were signed up to vote by mail by October 30, 2006.  And 860,991homes were canvassed the weekend prior to Election Day in the five key states. 
  • Conducted workshops across the country for Latino elected officials, volunteers and activists in order to empower members of the community with the tools to organize their own GOTV and voter registration activities. Training tools included English and Spanish "how to" manuals, grassroots advocacy speakers , bilingual media talking points on the importance of a unified Latino vote,  GOTV tactics and ways to influence the political process.
  • Designed a paid media campaign featuring billboard, and print advertisements to augment the field efforts in each of the five states. Burnside & Associates handled all aspects of the advertisement production and placement.





Hispanics were instrumental in key Democratic wins. By mobilizing Latino voters to the polls, Burnside & Associates helped to elect two new members of Congress, U.S. Senator Salazar, four state house members, and flipped both chambers of the Colorado State House and Senate.


The paid canvasses and field efforts reinforced MAF's message of empowerment and maintained the organization's visibility, while the trainings and earned media campaign consistently generated favorable coverage for the organization and established a real movement in the Hispanic community.