By Regina Coppens
Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park was the setting of a recent naturalization ceremony. Thirty new citizens were sworn in on August 12 just as the fog over Jordan Pond lifted. Martha Dickenson and I, both of us members of the League of Women Voters of Maine, were there to help the new citizens register to vote. The staff at Jordan Pond House provided us with a table front and center and were able to register nearly half of those naturalized that day.
It was a diverse group with people who have come here from countries all over the world, including: Antilles, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Senegal, So. Korea, Thailand, UK, Vietnam, and the Netherlands. Everyone was so excited and it was a pleasure to help them in their next phase of citizenship.
At least once a month in the Portland area, The US Citizenship and Immigration Services holds ceremonies in the Portland area at least once a month. Qualified immigrants are granted citizenship and the LWVME regularly attends the naturalizations ceremonies to help them register to vote. Peg Balano, a member of the Portland LWV is present at almost all the ceremonies and reports that “Since the beginning of the year, we have helped register 99 new citizens to vote.”
The Bangor Daily News featured an article about the naturalization ceremony at Jordan Pond. One new citizen interviewed said he was looking forward to voting: ““I’m thrilled I’ll now be able to take part in the electoral system. I can hopefully make my vote count.” Another added, “…that Americans who work hard can have opportunities unavailable in other countries and that she wants to be able to take advantage of them.”
We Need Your Help!
Many new citizens need help completing the voter registration form and we welcome volunteers. We work to make sure that anyone who wants to can register to vote on the day they become a citizens. It’s the perfect time to explain the importance and process of voting — and it’s very rewarding work because people are thrilled at prospect of exercising their newly gained rights. If you’re interested in volunteering in this effort, contact Peg for dates and more information, email@example.com.