As the 2020 general elections approach, PAAIA is pleased to present its Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign, digitally mobilizing the Iranian American community to fulfill their civic duty and vote in the upcoming elections! The effort is part of PAAIA’s Civic Engagement Initiative, which is committed to encouraging and enabling Iranian Americans to get involved as concerned members of their communities, both nationally and locally.
Why is it important to vote?
The right to vote has not always been guaranteed. People of color and women fought tirelessly for the right to vote, yet recent data shows U.S. voter turnout rates remain remarkably low compared to other developed countries. So why did our ancestors fight so tirelessly for suffrage? Well, because they understood that to be able to vote is one of the most vital ways we can influence our democracy, hold our elected officials accountable, and ensure our voices are heard on important policies that affect us.
While there are an estimated two million Iranian Americans in the U.S., who contribute to U.S. society at all levels and hold inherently democratic values, the vast majority are underrepresented in participating in U.S. democratic institutions like voting. Iranian Americans have excelled as industry leaders, in professional careers, and in serving in the
government and the military. However, we have seriously lagged behind other communities when it comes to our engagement in American civic life. Voter turnout data show that Iranian Americans have extremely low turnout rates, resulting in significant under-representation of the community at the local, state, and federal levels.
This under-representation has led to dire consequences for the community, especially under the current administration. From the Travel Ban to prolonged detentions at the border to the devastating sanctions imposed on loved ones in Iran, the Iranian American community has witnessed the repercussions of low mobilization, participation, and influence. If recent history tells us anything, it is that our community cannot afford to continue on its current path of disengagement.
Visit Vote.gov to register to vote, depending on your state’s voter registration rules.
- Register online. This is available for 39 states plus the District of Columbia
- Download the National Mail Voter Registration Form. You can fill it out online and print the completed form or print the blank form and fill it out by pen. Remember to sign the form before mailing it to the location listed for your state.
- Find guidance for states and territories with different registration procedures.
You can register in person with your state or local election office. You may also be able to register at one of the following facilities. Make sure to call and check with the location to see if they register voters.
Voter Registration Deadlines
Every state except North Dakota requires citizens to register if they want to vote. Depending on your state, the registration deadline could be as long as 30 days before the election.