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Local Groups Fight Voter Suppression in Fresno County

by Mike Rhodes (editor [at]
Sabina Gonzalez (below), who is with Communities for a New California, spoke at this press conference on Saturday, October 23. Gonzalez said that the reduction of polling locations will result in voters in the Lincoln Elementary school area to have only 1 mega precinct for 4,400 voters. A voter who lives across the street from Lincoln will have to walk two miles to vote.
In a dramatic “October Surprise” that community activists say is certain to decrease voter turnout in Fresno County, 200 out of the normal 400 polling places have been closed. Hardest hit is southwest Fresno, which is predominantly African American and Latino, where activists tell me that 75% of polling places have been eliminated. Sabina Gonzalez, who is the campaign director for Communities for a New California, says some residents in SW Fresno will be forced to walk over 2 miles to find a polling place that is open. That polling location will have 4,400 voters assigned to it, which is likely to create long lines and delays on November 2.

County Clerk Victor Salazar announced a couple of weeks ago that budget cutbacks have forced his department to reduce the number of polling location in the mid-term elections. But, community groups like Communities for a New California have forced Salazar to modify his plans. Salazar was forced to open twenty (20) early voting sites on Saturday, October 30 and send out a post card notifying voters of their new voting locations.

Community groups are working to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) and there will be an effort in Fresno to monitor voter suppression efforts by filming problems at polling places.

Local activists connected to the “Video The Vote” campaign are concerned because the October -November 2010 edition of "Central Valley Tea Party Times" dedicated 2 pages about the potential for “voter fraud.” If Tea Party activists are at polling places and intimidate anyone they think might be an “illegal alien” the “Video The Vote” group will be there to document the voter suppression. If you are interested in participating, contact Linda Traynor at (559) 435-7520. For more information, go to

If you are interested in helping to get out the vote, help make phone calls, knock on doors, or set up signs, contact Daniela Simunovic at dsimunovic [at] . Or, just drop by the Communities for a New California campaign office at 811 N College Ave (south of Olive).

Another group working on GOTV in the Fresno area October 30-November 2 to Get-Out-The-Vote for Democratic candidates and issues is the Groundworks Campaign. If you are interested in volunteering, contact nora.huffman [at] or call 1-800-531-3417.
§Polling Place Closed
by Mike Rhodes
Lincoln Elementary school in southwest Fresno will be closed on election day.
§Martha Guzman
by Mike Rhodes
Martha Guzman, executive director of Communities for a New California, point to a map showing where polling places have been closed in Fresno.
§Radio Report
by Mike Rhodes
Listen now:
Copy the code below to embed this audio into a web page:
3:31 minute audio report broadcast on KPFA/KFCF about the shut down of polling places in Fresno County.
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