George Fernandez

George Fernandez

Pennsylvanians have been bombarded with political messages for months and hounded by social media to register to vote. You’ve been marketed to by businesses offering incentives to registered voters and have been witness to heated political debates no matter what screen or device you’re looking at. All of this makes it seem like Election Day, and the candidates who are up for election, are common knowledge to everyone at this point.

It would be a grave error to make this assumption. For Latino and nonwhite communities, these messages, for the most part, don’t hit our wavelength. We don’t have the same access to technology and resources to view these messages or do research on candidates, and even if we did, rarely is the information in a language we understand or in words that resonate with us.

Too often this divide becomes the reason why the voice of our minority communities is underrepresented in presidential elections, because the lack of inclusive resources is discouraging enough to not cast a ballot. Whether this divide is real or perceived, it exists and it stands to profoundly impact this election.

My message to Latino and non-white voters is this — you need to cast your ballot on or before Nov. 3. It has always been your civic duty, but this year like never before, it is your obligation to play a vital role in your nation’s history. If you let Election Day come and go without so much as mailing in a ballot or showing up at your polling place, you have let down generations to come. You will have to see newspaper headlines you don’t agree with and history books reflect a reality you wish you would have done your part to change.

Here’s a hard truth, the presidential candidate that spends the most money on his campaign this election will be the one to win. If you don’t like this truth, then don’t let ad dollars determine your next president. Let it be your voice and your vote.

Another hard truth — you may not love either candidate this election cycle. And you don’t have to. You don’t have to approve of everything about a candidate, and you most likely never will. But you must sort through the facts, do your research, and make an educated decision based upon the candidate that best aligns with the issues that are most important to you and your family.

This Election Day, the choice is yours. That’s what makes America the land of the free. If it’s backed by your belief, your vote can never be wrong. The only thing that is wrong is choosing to not honor an essential American right, which is to vote.

Speaking to everyone, Election Day is that one rare occasion when each of our voices count equally. That is what makes Nov. 3 so important. In a society where it can feel like the person who speaks the longest or the loudest wins, that all comes to a halt for Election Day.

So how can you play your part in this historic moment? Do your research, seek answers, make a decision, and most importantly, get out the vote.

Fernandez is CEO of the Latino Connection, a Harrisburg-based marketing and communications agency.
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