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Votamos, We Vote Coalition is working to give a voice to the voiceless in Delaware

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Delaware Public Media

Votamos, We Vote Coalition launched in 2020 - creating Delaware’s first statewide coalition focused on empowering Latinx voters. Their mission is to engage those voters to help them have a strong political voice in the First State.

Delaware has a growing population of Latinx immigrants, who are legal residents and tax-paying workers, but lack the ability to vote.

Many of these members of the community work at Sussex County’s poultry factories, farms, and nurseries and have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition says this highlights the need for advocacy on issues like access to healthcare and government services.

And Votamos founder Charito Calvachi-Mateyko says that’s why it’s vital that Latinx Delawareans who have the ability to vote do so.

“Tu eres mi voz. Yo no tengo ni voz. En esta democracia tu eres mi voz,” she said.

That translates to “You are my voice. I don’t have a voice. In this democracy, you are my voice.”

Those who cannot vote rely on those who can to advocate for the needs of the community.

Votamos is seeking volunteers to assist with voter registration, voter engagement, and advocacy on policy.

They are also recruiting bilingual poll workers to increase accessibility at the polls for non-native English speakers.

Karelin Torres is a bilingual poll worker recruiter with Votamos. She says that bilingual poll workers can help ensure that the voices of the people in Latinx communities are heard.

“You must be a registered voter, therefore you have to be a US citizen. And you must have a training session prior to elections, and these elections are either for the primaries September 13th or the general election November 8th. And then you must also fulfill your entire shift of elections.”

All poll workers help answer voter questions and resolve issues that may come up on election day, but, according to Votamos, bilingual poll workers go beyond that and are able to help non-native English speaking voters feel more comfortable in the polling place, and increase the likelihood that they can successfully cast their ballots.

More information on Votamos, and how to get involved, can be found online at votamosde.org.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and a graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021