Hamjambo wananchi wa Diaspora? Many of those reading this will remember that we worked together in 2012 and 2013 on Immigration awareness. A good number of you may have logged in on the congressional updates we had via teleconference. To those ladies and gentlemen, I wish to express my sincere appreciation for your support.
I am sharing this information in my personal capacity as a proud, independent Diaspora Kenyan. I do not speak in support of any candidate, nor do I wish to sway anyone’s choice of candidate or political party. My work in the Diaspora community has not been sponsored by any individual, party or organization. Views shared and expressed are based purely on personal conviction.
Why your 2016 vote is crucial
Being in the United States in 2016 is a turning point for the present generation and many more to come. This is a time when we have come through eight years under the current president. During this period the nation has experienced great up-heavels in the social, economic, financial and political spheres. During this period we have experienced the Geat Recession, which some may rightly compare with the Great Depression (though not as far reaching). We saw President Obama implement the economic stimulus that saw the revival of major industries and a surge of growth in the economy, a case in point being the Detroit auto industry.
I do not purport to be most informed about the economic details of the time, but I have been a beneficiary of this growth in more ways than one. As many may be aware, the state of the nation determines the kind of life we have for ourselves and our families. It affects the type and quality of the schools our children go to, the interest on our mortgages and investments, as well as a myriad of other important socio-economic factors. In a nut-shell, we cannot afford to distance ourselves from the issues at hand.
You are part of the equation, and the solution
The United States is where we live and work. Many of us have homes, other property and businesses here. This is the place we go to work and our children go to school. It is good we have a place to go for summer vacation in Kenya. However, let’s face it: Out of the year, how much time do we spend in Kenya? This is the place where we are, and we have a stake in the affairs of this nation; we are not outsiders any more. Matters concerning this nation, concern us all.
The law allows everyone over age 18 to vote. When one casts their vote, it indicates that they want their voice to be heard. When one fails to cast their vote, they are saying : I don’t want to talk about it. Whether you have a favorite candidate or not, it is imperative that one goes out to cast their vote. Failure to do so, means that the other candidate (one you really do not like), gets an extra vote by default.
Your vote is your way to say that you are taking a stand on important issues. You are the voice for your family, your school, your neighborhood and your community. Where funds are needed for development projects, and where major decisions are to be made, your voice will be heard loud and clear.
So, are you registered?
In order to vote, you must first have your name on the board of elections registry. You can register online, or go to a MVA location, fill a registration form and drop it in the box provided for that purpose: just enquire at the information desk. Registration is open until October 18, if you want to vote on November 8th.
Make a plan
On the voting day, polling stations may be open as early as 7AM (please confirm with your local precinct). If you do not know the location you can enquire at the social services offices in your area. Look at your work schedule and plan for the time. It will not make sense when the day comes and you realize you cannot make it to the polling station!
The electoral process provides for early voting, meaning you can cast your ballot before the date.it will be counted, and you will have fulfilled your civic duty. You owe it to yourself and to those dear to you.
Who can vote?
Everyone who is a citizen of the United States can vote, as long as you have been sworn and received a Certificate of Naturalization (for adults), or Certificate of Citizenship (for dependent children). Adult children over eighteen can vote, just remind them to go and register (don’t forget the deadline is October 18th). Party affiliation is personal, each person will make their own choice. For those who are undecided, you can register as “Unaffiliated”; this means you have the option to vote for any party.
Evangeline K Kirigua
Logistics and Event Planner