WASHINGTON, DC – With only a few weeks left to the November 2nd Presidential and Congressional elections, Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) chapters have teamed up with activists across the country, as part of the ANCA’s “Hye Voter Turnout” campaign, to make their last push to ensure record levels of Armenian American participation in the electoral process.
Over the past several months, local ANCA chapters have been working within their communities to raise awareness about federal, state and local candidates and the issues facing the Armenian American community. A powerful tool in this effort has been the ANCA Candidate Questionnaire, available on the ANCA website, which has provided candidates from across the nation with the opportunity to speak directly to their Armenian American constituents. The ANCA Congressional Candidate Questionnaire includes nine different questions on the topics of the Armenian Genocide; U.S. support for Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh; U.S.-Armenia economic relations; Self-determination for Nagorno Karabagh; Conditions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan; the Turkish blockade of Armenia, and; the U.S. subsidy of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline bypass of Armenia. For an Adobe PDF version of the ANCA Questionnaire, visit:
The ANCA has also teamed up with local Armenian Youth Federation chapters in national voter registration efforts, working to increase the Armenian American voice at the ballot box. Activists have set up registration tables at local churches, community centers and even local business establishments, providing the forms and information needed to register. These efforts have made it easy for young people to register through the ANCA voter registration website and “Rock the Vote,” MTV’s youth voter education program.
At the national level, the ANCA has endorsed Senator John Kerry as clearly the better candidate on issues facing the Armenian American community. At the same time, the ANCA – locally and nationally – continues to highlight the powerful leadership demonstrated by a great many Congressional Republicans on Armenian issues, notably by Armenian Caucus Co- Chairman Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Genocide Resolution author George Radanovich (R-CA), and Senators such as Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John Ensign (R-NV), George Allen (R-VA), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), and many others.
Working with local chapters or Armenians for Kerry, the ANCA has spent the past several months raising awareness of Senator Kerry’s 20-year record of supporting Armenian American concerns – on issues ranging from recognition of the Armenian Genocide and self-determination for Nagorno Karabagh, to increased aid, expanded trade, and an end to the blockades of Armenia. The ANCA endorsement of Senator Kerry includes a full review of the Senator’s record as well as a listing of the many areas in which President has disappointed the Armenian American community. This text can be found at:
The ANCA’s “Hye Voter Turnout” four-part strategy in support of the Kerry-Edwards ticket was formally launched on August 28th, with the Armenstock 2004 / Kef for Kerry event in Massachusetts (www.armenstock.com). This major day-long music festival featured leading Armenian musicians and speeches by Armenian activists and elected officials, including Congressmen Barney Frank (D-MA) and James McGovern (D-MA), as well as State Representatives Peter Koutoujian and Rachel Kaprielian. Additional get-out-the-Armenian-vote concerts are planned as part of the Kef for Kerry Tour of Battleground States. The tour includes stops in the key swing states of Wisconsin – October 8th, Michigan – October 23rd, Florida – October 24th, and, Pennsylvania – October 29th. For additional information, visit: www.kefforkerry.com.
The second element of the ANCA plan was the “Friends for Kerry Postcard Campaign,” which debuted at Armenstock. This campaign circulated tens of thousands of pre-addressed postcards which were sent by Armenians in solidly pro-Kerry states like New York and California to fellow Armenians in twelve swing states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The postcard urges voters to “compare the records of Senator Kerry and President Bush on Armenian issues, to weight the importance of your ballot for the future of US-Armenian relations, and the please consider casting your vote for the Kerry-Edwards ticket on November 2nd.”
The third part of the ANCA plan is a series of “Calling for Kerry” weekends on October 9-10 and October 30-31. Building on the postcard campaign, local activists are teaming up with Armenian Youth Federation and Armenians for Kerry chapters in hosting gatherings and “cell phone parties” to reach out to thousand of Armenian American households in sixteen swing states. In addition to supporting the Kerry-Edwards ticket, activists will highlight the need for strong turnout for friends of Armenia in Congress, both Democratic and Republican. The fourth and final part of the ANCA effort is a grassroots “Canvassing for Kerry” program that will go door-to-door to getting out the vote for John Kerry and other friends of Armenia on Election Day.