11.03.2008

El Diario: Vote for those who cannot

Tomorrow, some immigrants hoping to be naturalized in time to vote will not be able to do so; teenagers months shy of their 18th birthday won’t be able to cast a ballot and undocumented persons who were let down by an impasse on immigration reform will not be able to vote either.

This is where you, the registered voter, come in. You not only have the right to vote, but also the responsibility to do so.

During the past year, thousands of volunteers from local and national organizations committed to helping more Latinos become citizens and register to vote. This dedicated cadre has knocked on doors and spent countless hours educating people on their rights as voters. They have been vigilant about attempts to restrict people from voting.

Vote for their hard work.

Generations of women were not allowed to vote until the suffrage movement successfully won that right. Vote in honor of women whose voices were silenced.

Vote for people who were denied the right to vote, even as citizens. Before 1965, an English literacy requirement in New York excluded voters who spoke Spanish and other languages. Head to the polls for them.

In the 1960’s, New Yorkers were among those who went to the South to help African Americans vote in the face of violence from white supremacists. Civil Rights workers on this mission were beaten and murdered. Vote in their memory.

Citizens in Puerto Rico, even those who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and who served in conflicts, are not allowed to vote for president. Cast a ballot for them.

Tomorrow, make your voice heard and honor those who are so far from that precious right.