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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

San Diego LGBT Democrats Launch Voter Registration Drive

Photo by Andrew Bowen

A banner advertising Democrats for Equality hangs on the group's office wall, Aug. 30, 2016.

Democrats for Equality, San Diego's LGBT Democratic club, has launched a campaign to register 4,000 new voters by Election Day. The group is doing so with a $78,000 grant.

Democrats for Equality is launching an ambitious campaign to register 4,000 new voters before election day, with the help of a $78,000 grant.

The 41-year-old LGBT Democratic club announced it had received the grant at its meeting last week. The money came from NextGen Climate, a progressive political action committee founded by businessman Tom Steyer.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, the local club's president, said the money is being used to hire field organizers and rent a small office in Mission Valley. He said the registration efforts would focus on youth, students and minority groups.

"The LGBT community is a minority, and we know how to build coalitions to pass policy," Rodriguez-Kennedy said. "And we need to do that and be there for other social justice issues, and build those coalitions and organize."

The extremely long state and local ballots — 12 measures in the city of San Diego, two from the county, and 17 from the state — mean voters need to be educated and engaged on what is at stake in the election, Rodriguez-Kennedy added.

"We want to make sure that they know that these are the type of things that are being talked about right now," he said. "It's really important that you pay attention to these things."

Democrats for Equality was founded in 1975 as the San Diego Democratic Club. Rodriguez-Kennedy said the original name was designed to avoid any connection with the LGBT community because its members feared for their safety, and that politicians would avoid them.

The group changed its name in 2011. Several local politicians have been members of the club, including former state Sen. Christine Kehoe, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins and City Councilman Todd Gloria.

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