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I learned about the importance of voting from my parents. Immigrants from Peru, my parents never fail to vote in the elections for their home country. Every five years, they shuttled my brother, sister and me from our small town in Westchester, NY, to New York City so that they could vote in the Peruvian elections. Voting was always a family affair, and an educational one at that! I remember children my age waiting in line to vote beside us, learning the same lessons on the importance of civic engagement from their parents.
According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), parents can play a huge role in motivating kids to get to the polls; young people whose household members vote are more likely to vote themselves. Growing up seeing my parents proudly engage in Peru’s elections encouraged me to participate in my own country’s democratic process. I turned 18 the summer before heading off to college in 2011. As soon as I could, I registered to vote at a tabling event set up by a student group on campus. A year later, I voted in the 2012 Presidential election —the first major election for which I was eligible to vote!
My parents taught me that voting is essential in order for all citizens to have a voice in their country’s government. They know how important it is to engage in their own country’s democratic process—even from thousands of miles away. They worked for years to build a life for my siblings and me in the United States, a country which affords us opportunities they did not have. Being an informed and active citizen in this country is just part of how I aim to fulfill my parents’ wishes for a better life. Through their example as dedicated voters for their country, I learned that I should also engage in the democratic process. Their commitment resonates for me. As a U.S. citizen, I am proud to exercise the right to vote and use my voice to weigh in on the issues that matter most to me.
Election Day is coming! Now is the time to visit VOTE411.org to make sure your voter registration is up-to-date and learn about voting rules and deadlines in your state. Don’t forget to remind your friends and family to register to vote!