What Keeps People from Voting?

We’re confident that Puerto Rico wants statehood. If all the registered voters turn out on November 3 and follow their hearts, the status vote should turn up a massive YES for statehood.

What if turnout is low? We know that the anti-statehood factions will try immediately to discredit the vote. They are already doing so. That could give Congress an excuse to ignore the 2020 status vote as they did the 2012 and 2017 votes.

For this reason, we want to make sure that as many voters as possible get to the polls and cast their votes. How can we increase those numbers and make sure that Congress takes the vote seriously?

Why don’t people vote?

Just about half of all eligible Americans voted in the last presidential election. Puerto Rico voters of course did not have the option, but many voters in the states didn’t. The presidential elections are generally considered the most important elections. So why didn’t voters show up?

  • They’re not registered. If this is the situation for you or your friends and family in Puerto Rico, it’s too late to fix it. The deadline for registration was September 15th. But voter registration is automatic in many countries. Not in the United States.
  • They think their vote doesn’t matter. It would be easy to feel that way about the November referendum. Statehood has already won twice. Congress didn’t take action. But things have changed. Support for statehood is growing not only on the Island, but also in the states and in Congress. Members of Congress who have felt that they didn’t need to think about Puerto Rico because it’s far away are beginning to realize that the people who vote for them also care about Puerto Rico. People are also beginning to understand that Puerto Rico’s status is a matter of civil rights, of human rights. This is the time to go all in.
  • The other side of that coin is when people think they already know how the election will go. Polls in Puerto Rico in 2017 found that many people didn’t go to polls because they believed statehood would win without their vote. The anti-statehood factions counted all those confident estadistas as boycotters. Turn out. We believe that we will win, but we need to win big.
  • They face barriers to voting. This year, coronavirus could be a big obstacle to voting. And daily life often creates obstacles ranging from needing childcare to having to work to being without reliable transportation. Studies show that barriers like these are more likely to keep poorer people, younger people, and people of color from voting. Can you help someone with problems like these? Can you ask someone for help, and give them the opportunity to be part of history by helping you?

Plan ahead

What can you do now to make sure that you will be able to vote in November? Who can you reach out to so they will be able to vote in November? Give someone a ride. Encourage someone. Help someone understand the issues. Work things out now with your employer or someone who can take care of your child.

We’re on the right side of history. Let’s make some history next month.

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