A New Citizen on Why She’s Voting and Why You Should Too

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New American citizen Jennifer Zoeller is excited to vote next month.

Jennifer Zoeller came to the United States from her native Colombia when she was 25. She eventually married a U.S. citizen and settled into life in her adopted home. Jennifer studied English at our Washington, DC, Affiliate, Carlos Rosario School from 2011 to 2014 and took a position at the school after graduating. Although Jennifer was eligible to become a citizen in 2013, she hesitated at first because she didn’t see the urgency. But after pressure from friends and family, she decided to start the process. Given this year’s political climate, she’s really glad she did.

This national election will be the first one in which Jennifer will cast a vote. Here she is, in her own words, about why she’s voting this year, and why you should too.

How long have you been eligible to vote?

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Zoeller: I became a citizen in July 2016. I registered just a few days after the ceremony.

What made you decide to register this year?

Zoeller: I’m happy that I decided to become a citizen because the more Latino votes we have, the better. We can make a difference in this country. We can be the voice for other Latinos who aren’t able to vote. I also have to think of the future for my kids and the future of the economy.

Why do you think voting is important?

Zoeller: Voting is a way to contribute and step up for my community. I have friends who have to wait for others to make decisions for them. It’s people who do the tough jobs like dishwasher or housekeeping. We have to step up for them.

What do you hear from friends and family about why they are or are not voting?

Zoeller: My husband doesn’t like to be around big crowds of people and actually he didn’t vote in 2012. But this year he is going out to vote, and his family will too. The race is really close. Every vote counts.

What advice do you have for people who might not vote?

Zoeller: Instead of staying at home and waiting for someone to decide your future, vote. Every little bit matters. It’s important to decide who will have our country in their hands for the next four years.

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