Get Out The Vote, or Sit Out The Vote?

The opening shot of a campaign ad from Latinos for Reform, urging Latino voters to demand respect from elected officials.With the election just days away, campaigns are focusing less on convincing voters which bubble on the ballot to fill in, and are more concerned with how many people actually fill out a ballot. Get out the vote (GOTV) efforts are in full swing.

President Obama came to Portland to stump for gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber last week. Ten thousand people crammed into the Oregon Convention Center to hear him speak; many more watched the speech live on the television or Internet.

The consensus was that Obama's speech in Portland sounded a lot like his 2008 campaign speeches. He got supporters in the room fired up and ready to go. Obama visited five western states in four days to lend political clout to Democrat candidates in tight races, and he's already canvassed cities in the Midwest.

Republican campaigners in Oregon are focusing the GOTV effort on activating the party faithful and unaffiliated voters, which some analysts think will lean toward Republican candidates such as gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley and Congressional candidate Scott Bruun. Republican leaders in the state House and Senate are running a large-scale effort to turn out registered voters who haven't participated in the last few elections.

While Oregon campaigns are working to get out the vote, some strategists around the nation seem to be trying the opposite tactic: convincing Latinos, who largely support Democrats, to sit out the vote.

In Nevada, a Republican group called Latinos for Reform released a campaign ad urging Latino voters to stay home on November 2. "Don't vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message," an announcer said in Spanish. "You can no longer take us for granted." The ad was yanked from the airwaves after it gained negative attention. Latinos for Reform, the group behind the campaign, released a follow-up ad.

Latinos for Reform, based in Virginia, is running similar campaigns in several states. The group accuses both parties of neglecting Latinos as a constituency, but it rests the blame on the shoulders of the Democrats. Latinos for Reform says the message isn't to sit out the election, but to boycott legislators who haven't lived up to their promises to the Latino community.