With 32 million eligible voters, Hispanics represent the second electoral force in the country and the first among minorities with 13 percent, so politicians in campaign are not wrong when they point out that this process is “historic.”
November 3 is just around the corner, but today is National Voter Registration Day and serves as a reminder of your right and obligation as citizens.
Voting is very simple, but you must make sure that you can do it without problem, either by mail or in person.
The Electoral Assistance Commission (EAC) is a bipartisan body that ensures that the electoral process is strictly adhered to.
“The EAC also accredits the testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, in addition to overseeing the use of HAVA funds,” recalls that agency on its website.
Remember that only citizens, born or naturalized, can exercise the right to vote in local, state and federal processes.
- Older than 18 years-old
- Meet the electoral requirements of the state where you live
- Even homeless people can vote if they meet the requirements and by registering an address of the help center where they stay overnight
If you are not a citizen, DO NOT try to vote, as it is a federal crime.
In offices where it is possible to register to vote, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles ( DMV ), employees ask people if they want to register to vote, if you are a green card holder or have another type of visa, you must answer NO.
How to register
It can be done at DMV offices, but you can also fill out the National Voter Registration Form by mail or online, although this is feasible in 39 states.
It is important to make sure that the electoral authorities have your data correctly: name, address and method of identification.
“The national form also contains the voter registration rules and regulations for each state and territory,” the EAC states.
Here you can download the REGISTRATION FORM .
The online system asks you to select the state where you reside, that way it will be able to provide you with the details of your electoral office and the website.
There are different forms of voting by mail or by absentee, which must be requested at the electoral office in each state.
The online system that provides information on the state where the voter resides offers guidance to vote by mail.
It’s your first time?
There are two reasons why a citizen would officially have the right to vote for the first time: he reached the age of majority established by the Constitution, that is, 18 years, or became a naturalized American.
In both cases the process is practically the same, but you must register before the deadline to be allowed to vote, for example, in California and New York it is October 9. Every state has a deadline.
The registration office will mail information about the polling place.
Make sure you have official identification, such as your driver’s license or your passport.
Election officials will guide you on how to fill out the ballot, so as not to leave blank spaces.
Vote from abroad
The Foreign Citizens and Uniformed Voting Act (UOCAVA) of 1986 protects the rights of Americans living in other countries.
The law requires states and territories to allow these citizens to register and vote in elections for federal office using absentee procedures.
Voto Latino reported that it has registered 307,161 voters, bringing the total to more than 800,000 voters, of which 77% are between 18 and 39 years old; 61% are women.
It adds that 166,520 of the records are from Texas; 21,449 in Georgia; 7,908 in Colorado; 18,538 in North Carolina and 23,370 in Arizona.
“Voto Latino is now more than half of our goal of 500,000 voter registrations for the 2020 cycle,” said María Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of the organization. “In the face of a global pandemic and an economic recession, Voto Latino is the model for voter participation and empowerment … The stakes could not be higher for the Latino community.”