Participation in the democratic process is one of the responsibilities of any US citizen, and exercising the right to vote in elections for public officials does it.
There has been a growing discontent with the presidential election process since one can see the influence of lobbyists and money investment from big stakeholders that can influence the outcome of the election. Furthermore the system of Electoral College takes away power from the direct vote of the citizens.
Talking to people from Latin American origin there is a common realization that in those countries the vote does not represent the people. Even more, they affirm that the elections are manipulated, the constitution changed while the ruling president desires to stay in power longer, and many other changes that favor the ruling classes. When people become citizens here there is a tendency to benefit from the rights that come with citizenship, disregarding the responsibility to vote and participate in the local community.
It is in the local community when one can begin to see if the local administrators are fulfilling their campaign promises, if they are working for the benefit of all and if there is a clear representation of the people in the decision making process.
The only way to know if the administration is working is to stay informed of the issues affecting your community. If you do not know, you cannot make a difference. If you know and do not participate, then don’t complain, because others do not need to work for you since you do not care about the issues. Every town and city has a place, and times when issues are discussed and voted on and where you can be present to know what’s going on.
It would be difficult to go to Washington to make changes, especially if you have not started to make changes in your own town or city where you can see who is working and how are they doing. It is well known that it was the Latino vote that gave Obama the numbers to win the presidency, but locally, what has been the participation and voice of Latinos in government?
During campaign time do we listen to the candidates? Do we even know what they are offering? Do we agree with their offers? And if they are up for re-election can you see whether they did work on their first promises? If not, this is the time to choose someone different. There has to be a way for you to know what each candidate is proposing at the local level. Do you know how to find out?
The next weeks are very important since the registration deadline is very close. In Elkhart County for example the deadline is Monday, October 5, 2015. The Municipal Election takes place on November 3, 2015. In Indiana you may find information about the elections at: www.IndianaVoters.com
Find out the rules for your county and state and be a citizen. You have decided to live here, this is part of your decision.
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