The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Ceres resident Alicia Galván.
The Churintzio, Michoacán, México native became a U.S. citizen on Oct. 23, a day after the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 6 mid-term election.
However, because she – and 1,003 other Valley residents – became naturalized, she can go to the Stanislaus County elections office with her naturalization certificate up through Election Day and get a ballot.
After listening to Fresno City Council Clerk/Registrar of Voters Brandi L. Orth explain the process, Galván planned on registering to vote as soon as she drove back to Modesto.
“For a better future,” said Galván of the importance to vote in the next elections.
Galvan, 53, has been living in the United States for almost 30 years.
“So your citizenship now provides you with honor and duty to vote,” Orth told the 1,004 people representing 50 countries – including México, India, Philippines and El Salvador – who became new U.S. citizens at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) monthly ceremony at the Convention Center’s Valdez Hall.
“And we have an election in two weeks. Two weeks from today,” said Orth, adding that “in order to vote you need to complete a voter registration form” as she held one of those registration forms with her left hand.
The new U.S citizens could pick up one of those forms on site when they went to receive their naturalization certificate after the ceremony or from one of the nonprofit organization that were on site to help people fill out the forms to register to vote.
“Family and friends, hopefully, you can help your new citizens (fill out the forms),” Orth said.
However, because of the midterm election in less than two weeks away, the process for the new citizens to register to vote is a little bit different this time.
“When you register, you have to go in person to the election office in the county where you live,” said Orth, then asked how many of them live in Fresno County. “Good, so you are going to be visiting me. And I am only about two and a half blocks away.”
Orth said those who live in other counties such as Merced, Madera, Kern, or Stanislaus, that is where they need to go to register to vote.
“The process would still be the same. You complete your registration card, you go into their office, you take your naturalization certificate and they will immediately register you and give you a ballot to vote,” Orth said. “And you can do that starting today, up to and including all the way through election day, November 6.”
“So we welcome you as new voters, we welcome as new citizens and we are looking forward to meeting you individually right down the street,” Orth said.
The ceremony included keynote speaker Wachong Yang, from Modesto, who also became a U.S citizen at the Valdez Hall back in the 2000s.
In his speech, Yang encouraged all new citizens to register to vote.
Víctor Hugo Orozco, who arrived to the United States in the 1990s, is one of the 581 people from México who became an U.S citizen and who is looking forward to vote on Nov. 6.
Orozco, who lives in Bakersfield and is originally from Puruándiro, Michoacán, México said is very important to vote.
“As I have said, it is to assert our rights,” Orozco said, adding that by voting people can elect “better representatives in order to obtain a better quality of life and give us better respect as citizens.”
Diana Rosales, who has lived in the U.S. since 2004, was happy to hear the news from Orth about being able to register to vote all the way through election day.
“Voting is important,” said Rosales, who is originally from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México and lives in Bakersfield. “Now as new citizens, for an improvement for the state and for all Latinos.”
Where are they from
1. México, 581;
2. India 133;
3. Philippines 63;
4. Laos 32;
5. El Salvador 18;
6. China and Iran 14 each;
7. Iraq and Yemen 12 each;
8. Canada and Syria 9 each;
9. Guatemala 8;
Also: Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Nicaragua, The Bahamas and Venezuela 1 each; Cuba and Honduras 2 each; and Perú 3.