The right to vote is under attack. Efforts are underway across the country to make it more difficult to vote, especially for people of color who rely on extended voting hours, polling locations that are open on Sundays, and the ability to vote without having to present photo identification.
You can register to vote in California any time, but you must be registered by specific dates to participate in certain elections. For example, you need to be registered by May 23, 2022, to participate in the statewide primary election. However, while it is important to be aware of any voter registration deadlines, all eligible people can register to vote at any time.
September is also the month where organization throughout the country celebrate National Voter Registration Day, which is on September 28 this year. It’s important that you register to vote or verify that your information is correct and up to date. If you are already registered to vote, encourage your friends and family who are eligible to do the same.
What’s at stake
Your vote is your voice on serious issues affecting housing, education, employment, climate change, and health care as well as electing leaders that will champion these agendas.
Statistics from the Census Bureau show that of the 11.4 million eligible Latinos in California, only 5.1 million are currently registered to vote. If every eligible Latino registered to vote, it would create a massive voting block with the ability to influence important issues and drive change.
Often, hugely impactful legislation can succeed or fail based on a small number of votes. For example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 was passed in Congress by a razor thin 51-49% margin, with 219 ‘Aye’ votes vs. 212 ‘No’s.
That’s why when it comes to voting for local, state, congressional, and even federal leaders, every vote matters. It’s important during elections to learn about the measures and the candidates. If you don’t vote others will be electing leaders for you, that can make all the difference between an important law passing or failing. Laws that impact our everyday lives and communities.
It’s also your tax dollars at work. In some cases, voters can vote on bonds and certain measures which impact how taxes are spent. Through your vote you can have a say on local measures to determine how those tax dollars are put to work. For example, to maintain public parks or fund school construction projects.
The pandemic has created significant challenges for voters of color throughout the nation as polling places and voter registration sites became less accessible and we saw the rapid spread of disinformation in our communities. Fortunately, we’ve also seen increased participation rates across the board. This is proof that our community, even when faced with the challenges and devastation of a global pandemic, have felt significantly empowered to make their voices heard.
As we head into important elections in 2022 and 2024, AltaMed is steadfast in our commitment to help ensure that patients and our surrounding communities are registered, informed, and empowered to vote.
On Thursday, September 30, AltaMed is hosting a National Voter Registration Day webinar where panelists will discuss voter engagement efforts and how to combat misinformation as we prepare for the 2022 midterm elections.
To register for the webinar, click here.
To find whether you are registered to vote, how to register to vote, and information about what is on your ballot, visit the League of Women Voters bilingual informational website – vote411.org or call NALEO Educational Fund’s bilingual voter information hotline at (888) VE-Y-VOTA. Remember that in the state of California registering to vote is easy, safe, and you can do it online!