After all the months and months….and MONTHS…of hoo-hah, actual voting felt kind of
anti-climactic. Yep, there was a rush this morning at the polls I saw. My polling place is at a residential garage a couple blocks away from my house. The garage thing, yes, is charming and it doesn’t get more grass-rooty then a neighbor’s garage, with dogs running around out on the lawn.
Not a lot of majesty, though, in a two-car garage.
But for a brand new citizen like Dinora Zecena, getting to cast a ballot for the very first time is just huge. Now 43, Dinora arrived here at 16 escaping violence in El Salvador. She worked as a housekeeper, got her green card, learned English, and raised three children who have become the first in her family ever to graduate from high school.
Dinora herself had just one year of childhood schooling, but for years while raising her daughter and two sons, attended English classes almost every evening. A few years ago she went to school to become a certified nurse assistant. Last year she got a better job—“I needed to have fringe benefits”—and now travels, working in homes for a hospice organization.
Two months ago Dinora passed her citizenship exam. And so, today, she got time off of work to cast her very first vote.
There are a lot of Dinoras.
A new analysis of census data shows that in the US as a whole there are 7.8 million people who have become citizens since 2000. That’s 3.6 percent of potential voters. In Florida that number is 6 percent. In California, the new citizen number is 9 percent.
Majesty aplenty in all of those people eager to be part of the process.