Civics Clase: On Primary Day, Why I'm an Independent Voter


2012 District of Columbia Primary, I'm ready:

License: check

Passport (in case I need back up government-issued ID): check

Voter Registration Card: check

2012 D.C. Primary Guide (read, of course): check

So you can imagine my surprise when I showed up after leaving NPR earlier than I planned. (I'm there this and next week).  The darling 283 year old African-American viejito with a baseball cap covered with "I Voted!" stickers looked up at me and said, "Sugar, you're not on my list."


Eager beaver that I am, I FORGOT that independents in D.C. can't vote in the primaries. That's meant for Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Green Party members, you get the picture.

But why did I not register for a party?

I'm a journalist and want to keep as many, to not say all of biases balanced.

As important is being Latina.  As a member of the largest, growing minority, I think that each party should have to compete for our vote with good ideas, solutions to our problems, and vision for the future.  What's the option, "give away" our vote to one party, just because my abuelo voted this way, as did Papi, and now me?

Of course there's a very valid argument to be made that Hispanic voters are choosing "the lesser of two evils": the Republican Presidential candidates' xenophobic rhetoric on immigration has alienated many Latinos, they don't present serious, viable solutions to this issue, plus the GOP's economic ideas aren't really speaking to our needs and that of our family and community.

Then there's President Obama, who promised immigration reform, didn't deliver, while deportations skyrocketed on his watch.  And Latinos were hard hit by the recession, with household wealth nosediving 66% between 2006 and 2009, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

So whatta I do?  Definitely register.  Then participate in town halls, block and community meetings, the PTA, learn everything you possibly can about a candidate or issue.  Then show up on election day--no matter what.

At that point, it's totally up to you.

Más Habla by clicking on my English Vlog:

And the vlog in Spanish:

Do you believe that our power lies with voting like independents or rallying around a party?