As an active Voter Registration Agent and OFA volunteer, I have been part of many events where OFA registers new voters. I have registered voters at the State Fair, the Bernalillo Wine Festival, and holiday parades; and that was just in the last month! Although they are all fun and different, Naturalization Ceremonies, where new citizen are sworn in, are the most meaningful to me. In New Mexico, we have these ceremonies about once a month, and normally see 150 new citizens from 23 countries become Americans. They pledge allegiance to the United States, and commit to serve and protect, and make a contribution to our country. We conclude by singing Woody Guthries' classic “This Land is Your Land.” The video recorded message from President Obama is especially powerful, and other local leaders welcome them to citizenship as well. As the new Americans leave the hall one by one, they are given their flag and final documents. At that time, we Voter Registration Agents invite them to take just a minute to complete their voter registration card.
Results are pretty outstanding – usually 40% of new citizens register to vote. Others are so excited, that they want to take a blank Voter Registration form home to complete and mail back to the County Clerk. It is so gratifying to welcome our new fellow citizens and get them involved in the first step of the democratic process. What better way to be involved with OFA than to help register these wonderful people, who have worked so hard to get to America. As American citizens, we have a Constitutional right to vote, which we sometimes take for granted. Witnessing one Naturalization Ceremony would surely cure that!
If you are not yet a Voter Registration Agent, become one! The training takes less than an hour, is free, and is valid forever in New Mexico. For information about future Voter Registration trainings at our office, for more info on becoming deputized in general, to volunteer for a Naturalization Ceremony, or for any other event here in the Land of Enchantment, please email: [email protected] we're also on Facebook and Twitter