FREMONT, NEBRASKA – A controversial ordinance banning local businesses from hiring illegal immigrants passed yesterday partly due to the low turnout of the measure’s opponents, who spent the day encouraging others to “Get Out And Vote”.
The measure, Ordinance 5165, prohibits the hiring of illegal immigrants as well as forbidding landlords from renting properties to people who enter the country illegally. In the weeks leading up to a vote, opponents worked hard to gather enough support to try and stop the passage of the new regulation.
Marion Williams, a local activist, led the campaign to notify the public of the impending vote. “I really wanted people to get out there and express their opinion. I think it’s the wrong thing for our town to do, and the more bodies we could get in the booths the more hope we’d have,” she said. “I was out on the streets all day handing out flyers, I didn’t even get a chance to vote. I don’t know what went wrong.”
An army of activists, led by Marion, also had similar stories. “Me and my friends think this is a terrible law,” Ricardo Hernandez said. “We knocked on doors reminding people to vote. We didn’t stop once all day. I think we got lots of people to go,” he added.
“I’m still against the new ordinance, and I think most of us who were out there are,” Angela Sanford, another canvasser, said. “But participating in the democratic process is sometimes more important, you know? So that kind of makes up for the loss.”
It is estimated that the number of activists who forgot to vote could have stopped the ordinance from passing, had they actually voted.