There are 32 million eligible Latino voters in the U.S., yet Latina turnout rates are 14 to 20 percent lower than non-Hispanic Black or white women. This year, it’s up to us to make a difference.
If you want your voice heard on the issues that matter most to you, nothing is more important than exercising your right to vote. After all, there’s a lot more than candidates on the ballot. From choosing your local representatives to casting your vote on local taxes and a variety of issues that affect your daily life, the voting booth provides your chance to speak up.
Unlike any other election, this one marks the first time that Latinos are the largest racial or ethnic minority in the electorate. When you vote, you show officials that you’re part of a political and cultural force to be reckoned with, not a sleeping giant sitting on the sidelines.
Regardless of what anyone says, voting is a lot easier and safer than you think. Experts say the risk of contracting coronavirus at the polls is low, and you can always exercise your right to vote by mail instead if you choose. It’s important to note that despite rumors to the contrary, the risk of voter fraud is extremely rare. Whichever method you choose to cast your ballot, it’s important to understand your voting rights.
Here are 5 more things you need to know to vote in 2020:
1. Make sure you’re registered to vote.
It takes just 30 seconds to find out at whenweallvote.org/shesepuede — that’s faster than it takes to apply mascara. If you’re not registered or you’re listed as inactive, it takes less than 2 minutes to register.
2. Know what’s on your ballot.
You’re voting for more than just the president, so don’t wait until you’re about to fill in those ovals to learn about the different proposals and positions that are likely to appear on your ballot. You can look up exactly what’s on your ballot right here.
3. Decide where and how you’re going to vote.
You have two choices: Vote by mail, also called an absentee ballot, or vote in person. The pandemic has caused a lot of concern about mail-voting; here’s what you need to know:
- Some states require you to request an absentee/mail-in ballot, others automatically send it to you.
- Some states require an excuse, others don’t, and not all states consider fears of contacting coronavirus a valid excuse.
- You can find out all the rules and deadlines in your state right here.
If you’re voting in person, double-check your polling place ahead of time and make a plan for when and how you’ll get there, especially if you have to ask for time off from work. Most states allow for early voting up to two weeks ahead of election day, when crowds may be thinner, so you have plenty of options. Try planning a voting date with your bestie or set up reminders so you don’t forget right here.
4. Make sure you have the right form of identification with you if you’re voting in person.
All first-time voters must show identification, according to federal law, but for everyone else, the rules vary widely by state. You can check your state’s requirements here. Don’t forget to wear a mask, make sure your phone is charged, and bring snacks in case you have to wait in line.
5. Finally, make a pledge to vote with She Se Puede!
The more we get the word out, the more representation we’ll have. Being a huge part of the electorate gives us enormous power at the ballot box — voting gives you the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on your life, your family, and your community. Make a pledge to vote here. Pa’lante!
Voting is sooo worth it, and so much easier than you think!