Are you eligible to vote? Our complicated citizenship status disables some of us to partake in this upcoming election – As Compact of the Free Association (COFA) citizens, most of us are not eligible to vote; however, the case is different for those of us who are naturalized, U.S. citizens by birth, as well as our brothers and sisters from the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) and Guam.
Now the second question is – are you registered to vote? If yes, kudos to you on taking the first step in expressing your voice. If not, what are you waiting for? Don’t tell me you are one of those people who always say “Whatever, I’m not interested in politics” when it comes to registering and voting. It’s not always about politics. True, there is that political side of things but then there is also that side where your voice matters. YOUR VOICE MATTERS!
It’s important to keep in mind that voting is not all about the Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. So many of us focus our thinking Trump vs Hilary when we come across a registration form – which makes sense because the presidential candidates are a big part of it all. But there are also those ballot measures that come with your vote. There are four measures on a statewide level, one of which includes allocating money for students to have better access to programs that will encourage students to graduate, further studies in higher education, and prepare individuals for future careers – Measure 98. You may not know this but Pacific Islanders have one of the highest dropout rates. That is sad, as most of our Micronesian families relocate to the United States for 3 reasons, education being one of them! Another one on the statewide level – Measure 97 is all about taxing the big businesses more in hopes to generate more annual revenue for public schools, healthcare, and senior services. Are you still wondering how this is affecting you? Well duh, PUBLIC SCHOOLS! Most of our Micronesian children are enrolled in public schools. And then there is the healthcare – most of you know about our bill that was passed last year which enable us, COFA citizens to have access to affordable healthcare… there’s your answer. So on and so forth.
These are just two among the ballot measures, there are more. So ask yourself, what’s your take on this whole election madness? You might say it’s a one in a million vote, why does it matter? But let me tell you, it matters! You may not care about Trump or Hilary, but the ballot measures care about you. Your one single vote will make a difference. Now go out there and get proactive! Get registered today, because your vote counts and your voice matters!