Naturalization Ceremony, TPAC, Topeka, July 25, 2008--submitted by Nancy Wagner, LWV-TSC
On Friday, July 25, 2008, two naturalization ceremonies were held in Topeka at the Performing Arts Center. One was in the morning and the other in the other at 2:30 PM. The two events combined were reported to be the largest in Kansas state history. The total number of new citizens that participated in the ceremonies was 1,190 according to the Topeka Capital Journal.
Following each ceremony the Topeka League of Women Voters held a voter registration drive in the hallway outside the auditorium. During this drive 27 LWV members provided literature, registration forms, information, and helped over 300 new citizens complete voter registration forms. These completed forms were given to employees of the Kansas Secretary of State’s office to process.
As a new member of the LWV this was my first experience at a voter registration event. It stands out as one of the most significant days in my life. The new citizens were eager to register to vote. One man told me he had resided in the USA for many years and the only reason he became an American citizen was so he could vote. It made me realize how much I take the right to vote for granted. It was so important to these people to be able to have a say in our government; to be a part of this country. The importance of doing voter registration following a Naturalization ceremony should not be over looked.
I started thinking about reasons the League was formed. It was not that long ago that women were given this right. I also thought about the recent elections in an Africa country where there was only one person on the presidential ballot Even if I don’t always agree with the government at least I can express my opinion through voting. .
The LWV volunteers did a wonderful job directing, informing and helping new citizens register to vote. I would especially like to commend Anita Epps, and Nancy Sargent for their hard work coordinating this event. Because of all involved these new citizens can fulfill one of their citizenship aspirations. —posted 8/13/2008
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