The Role of New Americans in Upcoming Elections

This month’s thought leader piece is written by Angie Chermanz Monroy. Angie is a native of Bogota, Colombia and moved to the U.S. at the age of 13. After becoming a naturalized citizen, she went on to pursue a B.A. in International Studies and German Studies  from Emory University in Atlanta. During this time, Angie gained invaluable experiences pertinent to immigration policy and voter engagement through internships with organizations like the International Rescue Committee and the Georgia Association for Latino Elected Officials. These experiences have prepared her for her role as Voter Engagement Coordinator with New American Pathways where she leads our voter registration and engagement efforts for new citizens at USCIS and within the surrounding communities where our clients work and live.  During her time at New American Pathways, she has been able to register more than 12,000 new voters and recruit more than 200 volunteers for our civic engagement efforts She has been accepted to Georgetown University for her graduate studies and hopes to one day apply her education and experience as a Foreign Service Officer. Angie is fluent in Spanish and proficient in German.

As an immigrant from Colombia who became a naturalized citizen a couple of years ago, I believe that civic engagement is the best way to give back to this country and make the voice of our community heard. This is the reason why I am very passionate in my civic engagement work, specifically voter outreach. As a naturalized citizen, I believe it is my duty and the duty of other naturalized citizens to vote. Our vote represents the many voices from our communities that can’t be heard in this country. With that action, we can help our community by making sure we elect people who best represent the values and ideals our community believes in.

Thus, I believe all election cycles are important and all of us should do our civic duty to vote. Most importantly, this election cycle will prove how minorities in the US can play a major role in our elections. One out of every 10 registered voters are naturalized citizens ready to participate this year. This means that we will have around 23 million naturalized citizens who will be eligible to vote. This is a record number of immigrants who will be able make the voice of their own communities be heard. Additionally, this election cycle is very important because many pivotal changes are at stake. DACA, Medicare, and environmental regulations are the top topics of this election. The leadership we choose from this election will be the ones who will be able to decide which course our nation will take in the upcoming years. Therefore, it is our duty to choose wisely the person that best represents what we believe in.

This year we have primary and presidential elections. On June 9th, we have the Georgia Primary elections.  This election is when voters elect a candidate from a political party to be the nominee for the general election. The winners of the primary elections will compete against each other in the General Election. We will vote for party candidates who will be running for president, senators, judges, and others. If you need information regarding the candidates you will be voting for, check out Ballotpedia.  After this primary election, we will have the general election in November.

You can do your civic duty by voting in any of the following three ways:

Early Voting

Early voting is when you can vote ahead of time before the election. It begins three weeks before election day and the locations and times are different from election day, so please visit this site to find your county elections office.

Vote on Day of Election

It is when you vote on the day the election is happening. You must vote at your precinct location that is usually open from 7:00am to 7:00 pm. You can find the address of your precinct card in your voter card or the voter page: It is easy and straightforward, and there will be people there to assist you. However, there may be a line.

Vote by Mail

You can vote absentee when you are unable to vote in person. We have made absentee instructions available here. Once you fill out your application and return it, you will receive your ballot in the mail.

I believe it is vital for all of us to participate in the civic process. Many people around the world do not have an opportunity to vote for their country’s leaders, so we must not take this for granted.

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