Young Voters: Your Vote is your voice!

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“It’s important for me to vote because I want to advocate for my friends and family members who have DACA and are undocumented, for the families that are being torn apart and living in fear, for the children in cages, for all the families who have lost a loved one to COVID, it’s time for a change!” - Cynthia Dueñas, Des Moines
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Guest Editorial by Alexia Sanchez 

In the United States, every 30 seconds, a young Latino turns 18 years old. Every 30 seconds. Every moment is an opportunity for Latino youth to change the course of this country. We have an obligation to participate in a system that will impact our mamas, tias, abuelitas, and more. While not everyone has the opportunity to cast a vote in the current voting system because of disenfranchisement, those that do should take the necessary steps to make their voices heard. 

Aeelyn V. Magallanes Tristan, from Des Moines will turn 18 next week
and she is ready to vote.
“I vote because it is a privilege to be able to vote for those who cannot”

This upcoming election will be one of the most consequential elections of our time. We are also met with unique challenges due to the current pandemic of COVID-19 and all the issues that have been brought to light this year. We are forced to look at the flaws of our current systems and structures and ensure that we fight to make it better for all in the future. 

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I had the opportunity to become a United States Citizen this summer in August after living in this country for 17 years. I immigrated to the US with my mom and sister at the age of five and ever since have been exposed to the many injustices that happen to women, immigrants, low-income families, and more. Elections like this one make a difference in how families today and in the future live and prosper. This country is beautiful and has granted me and my family opportunities we only dreamed of but it’s also important to recognize how it can continue to be better every day for all. I will be casting my first vote ever this year and I cannot wait. 

While voting is a vital part of our democracy, there are other ways young Latinos can get involved and make an impact. Get your familia and friends registered to vote, volunteer for a campaign you believe in, contact your representatives on issues you care about, donate to organizations, run for office! Yes, run for office. We need Latinos to represent the towns they live in and Latinos need people in office that will stand for their values. 

32 million Latinos are eligible to vote this year making us the largest minority voting group for this year! Just in Iowa, 3.2 percent of all eligible voters identify as Hispanic. Let’s make sure we have a 100% turnout of all who are eligible! 

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Make a plan to vote and make a backup plan just in case. Get your friends and family to join you. Inform yourself about the candidates that are asking for your vote, not just the US president but also local offices that will be on your ballot. 

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Lastly, ask questions! While the process is to register or to cast a vote can seem easy at first glance, it is always best to make sure the right documents are filled out. Did you recently move to a new residence? Maybe for college or a new job? Did you get married and change your last name? Do you have one or two different last names? Information like this is important to fill out correctly to ensure a smooth process. If you have any hesitation, many online resources can help. If you still run with concerns, reach out to a trusted friend (I can help too!). Don’t let one small question keep you from participating this year and in future elections.  

Every 30 seconds, a young Latino has the chance to change the world. Join me.

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Alexia Sanchez

University of Iowa Alum’20

LULAC 308

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