As Voter Registration Ends Tomorrow: Latino Leaders Discuss Youth Vote, Getting Students Excited for Election

Carlos Gomez, President/CEO for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City said it best:

“If you don’t get excited to vote now at 18, statistics show that over your lifetime – you are less and less likely to ever vote.”

Those were wise words to attendees at Penn Valley’s informal panel discussion on Tuesday, Oct. 4 in the campus center. The topic of discussion was intensely thoughtful …Latino Voices Speak Out: Why Election 2012 Matters.

Among the issues discussed were:

  • Access to financial aid options for higher education
    • Diminishing Student loan options
    • Diminished funding for federal Pell Grants
  • Lowering of minimum wage rates for workers
    • Impacts the legal amount of pay available for those who have recently graduated from high school, community college or four-year schools and entering the workforce.
  • Health insurance reforms in jeopardy
    • Certain reform policies already in place as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) These reforms include things such as the inability to be dropped of insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions; the ability for children to stay on their parent’s insurance plans until reaching age 26 and the ability for government to require minimum health insurance coverage as a mandated method of reducing overall health care costs for those already covered.
  • Immigration reforms facing Latinos and others
    • Seeking and ultimately gaining citizenship is a topic of much concern for many immigrant students and youth who are both eager to get an education and eager to vote. But as Jackson County Legislator, Theresa Garza Ruiz put it: “…without citizenship, a lot of students simply can’t go to college.” Hence, the same barrier to citizenship equates to a students’ inability to not only attend college, but also to get a job, qualify for federal aid and of course, register to vote in elections.

The point of this all was really to get students engaged in the political process. It is important that students  and youth who already have the right to vote – actually exercise those rights and make a difference. There’s a lot at stake in the upcoming elections, so being informed and vocal is critical to everyone doing their part.

Ruiz added: “When you don’t vote, you’re ultimately voting for the person who gets in.”

The final day to register for the upcoming election in Missouri is tomorrow, October 10, 2012. You can find out if you’re already registered to vote by going to

Frequently asked questions regarding voter registration, identification required to vote in Missouri and polling place info can be found here at the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.