WASHINGTON - November 8 - ACORN members is four states -- Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, and Ohio -- celebrated the overwhelming success of ballot initiative campaigns to raise the minimum wage. They also applauded the successful efforts of other coalitions which passed wage increases in Nevada and Montana.
"Around the country, people came out to vote and did what politicians have failed to do -- raised the minimum wage. Huge majorities around the country agree raising wages is the right thing to do because hard work deserves fair pay," said Mary Keith Ohio ACORN's state board chair. "The new U.S. Congress needs to put a higher minimum wage and the needs of working families on the top of its agenda."
By late Tuesday night, exit polls predicted victory for all six wage increase initiatives, with especially large wins in Arizona (66 percent) and Missouri (76 percent).
Working with a wide range of partners, ACORN helped initiate and organize these campaigns and coordinated signature-gathering efforts that qualified them for the ballot. ACORN then ran ambitious field operations – especially in MO and OH, where thousands participated. The house-to-house campaign not only delivered a raise to 1.5 million workers, but also increased voter participation in the low and moderate income and minority neighborhoods where ACORN works.
"Voters were motivated to go to the polls by this initiative," Harris continued. "They felt that it was unfair for people to work for $5.15 and hour when members of Congress have given themselves raises adding up to $31,000 without ever raising the minimum wage."
ACORN also ran the country's largest registration drive in 2006. ACORN help over 540,000 low income and minority citizens register to vote in 2006. The 2006 registration drive reached 68,580 new registrants in Michigan, 71,156 in Missouri, 112,953 in Pennsylvania, and 116,366 in Ohio. "Getting people involved in voting is a fundamental part of ACORN's program," said ACORN President Maude Hurd. "It is one of the only ways to make sure that our communities have a voice that matters when the big decisions are made."
In 20 states around the country, ACORN's volunteers, members and staff knocked on over 1.5 million doors to talk to their neighbors about election issues. By Election Day, they reached 580,809 low- and moderate-income, minority, young, and single working women infrequent voters in 20 states -- often 2 or 3 times each -- and urged them to get out and vote.
ACORN carried out especially large door-to-door voter outreach programs statewide in MO, NJ, OH, PA, and RI, and in the following Congressional Districts: CO-7, NM-1, OH-1, OH-15, PA- 6, PA-7, and TX-22. Over 4100 ACORN volunteers and GOTV canvassers worked on Election Day. A grassroots network of ACORN Precinct Action Leaders (APALs) organized their neighbors to vote in 19 cities.
Key national partners in the national ballot initiative effort included the AFL-CIO, the National Education Association, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and the Economic Policy Institute and its EARN Network, SEIU, and Let Justice Roll. In each state, the campaign was conducted by a broad-based community-faith-labor coalition.