Kern’s Dreamers, youth work to make a difference in elections, despite not being able to vote

November 2, 2020 /

Although the number of voters casting their ballots is already on track to surpass the 2016 votes cast, there are still plenty of people who can not vote for a number of reasons; however, some Kern County residents who are unable to vote are making a difference in this election.

“The ability to vote in this country is a right and privilege that a lot of people do not have,” said Elizabeth Arévalo, a Dreamer and Bakersfield College student. “For those that do have that right, it is imperative to exercise it because they have a lot of people’s future, including mine, under their hands.”

Brenda Colotl, a student at Cal State Bakersfield, said she believes it is important for everyone to vote because it is their constitutional right.

“I feel that even though I am not able to vote , I can still help the party I am supporting by getting my neighbors/community registered to vote,” said Colotl. “Another way I get involved is by providing my community with factual information of how their votes impact them and the people they love.”

During the 2016 election, she helped her aunt study to become a U.S. citizen.

“She is in her sixties and has been in the US for almost her entire life if she becomes a citizen she can eventually vote,” she said.

Dreamer, Bakersfield College student, and farmworker Ivan Mendoza said voting is “necessary.” Mendoza gets involved by encouraging people to get out and vote, regardless of their party.

“If I could vote, I’d most definitely do it,” said Mendoza. “Because If you never raise one’s voice, you’ll never be heard.”

Betsy Ayala, a Dreamer and Bakersfield College student, has found a new way to reach voters. She said she encourages people to vote through social media platforms by sharing content that reflects the importance of voting and the impact it can make on different communities, like the immigrant community.

“I think it’s more than important for those who can vote to go ahead and do it because they are being the voices for those who can’t,” said Ayala. “If I had the opportunity to vote I absolutely would because I’ll be an extra voice for my people and those who wanna speak up but can’t.”

Arévalo makes a difference by educating herself on the issues by watching the debates and doing research on the propositions and candidates. She looks at what each candidate stands for their plans is elected.

She then takes in research and shares it with her family members who are able to cast their ballots.

“I know many individuals decide to not get involved with the election because of their inability to vote,” said Arévalo. “However, I believe that the inability to vote should serve as motivation to learn more. I encourage everyone to go out there and make their concerns heard.”

Arévalo, Colotl, Ayala, and Mendoza all agree that if they had the ability to vote, they would.

“If I could vote I would definitely vote — no questions about that” said Colotl. “I feel it is not only important to vote for the presidential election, but also for those who represent us at a local level. I would say that it is almost more  important than anything because they represent you and your community.”

Arévalo agrees.

“I would absolutely vote because it impacts my family and the community I live in,” she said. “Not only that, but many resources would be in jeopardy if people do not use their votes.”