What’s Wrong with National Voter Registration Day

Very little, except that like any “holiday” most people will get excited, Twitter will burn down, and then everyone goes back to her solitary lane in life.

Not me.

I want to push you to not just register which is critically important but to stay engaged and informed.

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¡Presente! ¿R U? Courtesy: TWLC’s Viviana Hurtado

Gente, don’t get me wrong.  Registering to vote is a crucial first step in fulfilling not just your duty as a U.S. citizen, but as important the one to your “ties”–everyone who depends on you, especially if they can’t vote, such as your kids or little brothers and sisters who are under the age of 18 or your illegal immigrant friend from church.

Some have said this election is important.  Others have gone one step farther, declaring, it’s personal, including the Reverend Al Sharpton, who now hosts PoliticsNation on MSNBC. In a promo, he declares the election is about “yo mama!”

Look past the media hype and ask yourself why is this election important?

Why is it personal?

Because of 2010.  It’s not just when the Tea Party helped toss Dems out of the House of Representatives.  It’s when the Latino population boom was confirmed by the 2010 U.S. Census.  Plus, our buying power tops–fasten your seat belts–$1 trillion dólares.

¡Downer alert!  Our political and social representation doesn’t match our demographic might or buying power.  Our voting record is described in reports as “entrenched voter non-participation” which I analyze in context of President Barack Obama‘s deferred action program for qualifying DREAMers in “Will Deportation Announcement Make Latinos Vote?

Ouch.

Just stick the dagger in and twist it.

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LATISM’s mix of urgency & humor Courtesy: TWLC’s Viviana Hurtado

Unfortunately, it’s true.  After the 2008 election, everyone busted out their maracas and marveled at the “record” numbers of Latinos who cast ballots.   Drill down and only about half of Hispanics who were eligible voted, compared with 65% of eligible African-Americans and 66% of white Americans, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

The direction of your neighborhood is as important as the direction of our country.

That will require long term investments–attending school board meetings or becoming active in your school’s PTA.  The real power lies there.  Don’t believe me?  Compare the schools and roads of the ritzy and blighted neighborhoods.  Which bloque gets its potholes repaired first?

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¡No mañana, gente! Courtesy: TWLC’s Viviana Hurtado

To be clear, anyone who is not a citizen has no business casting a ballot.  Still, there are some who are trying to keep you from voting, just about screaming bloody murder in the form of voter fraud, despite data disproving that this happens.  If it does, it’s in teensy weensy numbers.  So you have to ask yourself, is the possibility of one voter (as is being tested in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Michigan) who likely moved and did not update her address as opposed to intentionally setting out to defraud our election system, is this worth keeping thousands from voting, based not on hard evidence but suspicion?

“Señorita dot i’s and cross t’s” has little patience for slackers who should have taken care of business.  But why did these movements wait four years until right before the election to demand these checks?

Dunno.  I smell a rat.

The deadline to register to vote is coming up soon, with Tuesday, October 9, 2012 “D” day for dozens of states including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas. Click here for more information on voter registration deadlines.

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What’s Your Story? Courtesy: TWLC’s Viviana Hurtado

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Breathe.

Registering to vote has never been this easy.  In many states, the traditional way requires you to do very little more than check the “register to vote” box when you apply for or renew your drivers license or photo ID.

Websites and apps make it literally, as easy as clicking your mouse (some will send you text and email alerts)!

What’s wrong with National Voter Registration is us, if we don’t sign up and participate everyday, not just in November.

This post was published as “Election 2012: Register to Vote Before the Deadline” Register on September 27, 2012 in Latina Magazine where I am a weekly politics columnist.

To read more of Viviana’s Election 2012 columns in Latinaclick here.

What was first registering to vote and casting your first ballot like?

 

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