Your vote is your voice: Exercising your voting rights
Submitted by Chinese Progressive Political Action
As the Chinese community has increased its voter participation over the past decade, political candidates and campaigns are paying attention.
Chinatown, the recognized heart of the community, has steadily increased turnout to become one of the city’s highest turnout neighborhoods. Whoever you select, the whole community gains clout when we turn out to vote, and that translates into better city services and more attention to our concerns.
A direct result of this progress is that voters are now besieged by political campaigns more than ever before, especially in this election year when so many candidates are running for municipal office.
While the fact that the candidates seek the community’s vote is a good thing, it can feel overwhelming to the individual voter. On election day, a voter may encounter as many as a dozen people in front of the polls, each trying to distribute their candidate’s literature.
Our advice to voters is this: Listen to the candidates, read their literature as well as what others are saying about their positions on core issues you care about. Every candidate will say that they are good for the community, but what will they do to stabilize Chinatown’s future and prevent displacement? What will they do to provide library services to the community? What is their past record? How will they help the community solve problems if they are elected?
Be sure that you know which officials we are electing. In the upcoming Nov. 5 election, Boston voters get one vote for mayor, up to four votes for at-large city council and one vote for district councilor. Some voters are under the mistaken impression that they can vote for only one of two Chinese-American candidates on the ballot — but, in fact, they are running for different offices!
Part of every voter’s decision-making process is to listen to the campaigns, as well as to your friends, relatives and neighbors. But also remember — your vote is your voice.
You have the right to vote in privacy, whether in the polling station or by absentee ballot. If a friend or a respected leader wants to help you vote, you can always say, “Thanks, but I’m all set.”
Even if you are voting by absentee ballot, you can reserve your right to a secret ballot. The Chinese Progressive Association will continue to provide voters with a blank sample ballot to help you become familiar with the format of the actual ballot. When you receive your absentee ballot, carefully fill in the bubbles of the candidates you select, fold the ballot and seal it in the smaller envelope. Then if you need help completing the form on the outside of the envelope, you can ask someone to help you complete the information, put it into the larger envelope, stamp it and mail it.
Our community organized for more than seven years for the bilingual ballot so that voters would have this right to vote fairly and independently. Use it!
This post is also available in: Chinese