The Armenian National Committee of America Western Region’s Hye Votes initiative was kicked off on a high note at the 40th Navasartian Games and Festival, when longtime ANCA WR supporter and philanthropist, Manas Boujikian, days prior, informed the organization of his commitment to generously donate an initial $5,000 to the program to help strengthen the voice of the Armenian American community through the ballot box.
“For decades, Manas Boujikian has served as an inspiration with his vision and leadership. He doesn’t wait to be called upon. Instead, he readily says that it is his duty. He humbly offers his generous support, and we are so grateful for his initiative. It is through his efforts and many supporters like him that we are able to expand our programs and reach new heights of success,” stated ANCA WR Chair Nora Hovsepian. “One of the top priorities of ANCA WR is to transform the political strength of 166,000 compatriots who marched on the streets of Hollywood on April 24th to active voters who will help elect candidates to all levels of government that truly stand on the side of justice and in serving the needs of our community. Mr. Boujikian’s generous contribution helps us continue to march on this important path, and we are hopeful that his unsolicited donation will serve as an example to others as well,” added Hovsepian.
Launched in 2012, Hye Votes is a region wide, non-partisan initiative to engage community members in the electoral process by registering and getting them out to vote. Throughout the five-day filled with games and festivals, young Hye Votes volunteers, including ANCA-WR and ANCA Glendale interns registered hundreds of Armenian-Americans to vote and educated thousands in attendance about the upcoming 2016 Elections and how each vote will make a difference.
By the last day, few, if any, attendees did not know about the voter registration program, either having been approached by a Hye Votes volunteer, seeing the festive balloons, visiting the booth, or hearing the many announcements from the stage. When approached by volunteers, many seemed hesitant at first noting responses commonly heard from non-registered citizens which include their one vote not making a difference in election results or their fear of being called for jury duty if they register to vote. However, upon learning about many recent elections that were decided by just a few hundred votes and that if one is registered at the DMV then they are already on the jury duty rolls, the reluctance quickly faded and transformed into a newly registered voter and political capital for our collective cause.
Individuals who have not registered to vote or have moved residences since their last registration are encouraged to register online at www.hyevotes.org. For additional information about Hye Votes or to get involved call 818.806.8683. Individuals interested in donating to the ANCA WR or specifically to the Hye Votes initiative may do so online at ancawr.org/donate or by calling 818.500.1919.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.