Local Politics

Immigrants could determine outcome of election

Posted October 29, 2020 3:58 p.m. EDT
Updated October 30, 2020 12:54 a.m. EDT

— The Ranjan family arrived at an early voting site in Holly Springs just before the crowds did. While the process of casting a ballot in a U.S. election is familiar to them, they don't take it for granted.

Originally from India, the family immigrated to the United States in 1998 but couldn't vote until they became naturalized American citizens.

"My parents definitely take a lot of pride in the fact that they can vote," said Ananya Ranjan, who was 3 years old when she moved with her parents to the U.S.

"Exercising that human right of being able to vote people into the office is a big deal to them," she says, "They care about it a lot."

It's families like the Ranjans that could determine the outcome of this election. A study by the Pew Research Center shows North Carolina as having one of the fastest-growing immigrant electorates in the country, with the number of eligible immigrant voters nearly tripling from 2000 to 2018.

Before immigrants can vote in a federal election, they must become U.S. citizens through naturalization. Pew Research data shows that, in the 2020 presidential election, more than 23 million immigrants are eligible to vote. The majority of them are either Hispanic or Asian.

Vandana Ranjan says immigrants have a unique international perspective in an election. Immigrants, she says, helped America grow and become stronger. Now it's time for them to participate in the election process, too.

"When you get the right to vote, the right to select the right candidate who will help all the citizens and immigrants of this country, it's our responsibility to [do] that," she said.

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