Campaign advertisements for November’s elections have already started to run on radio, television, online, and in print. Even though the election is still weeks away, campaign season is in full swing. This year’s ballot includes contested races for governor, U.S. representatives (Congress), and various city council seats, as well as ballot measures. The results of many of these races and ballot measures will impact the lives of communities of color for years to come.  

As a 501(c)(3) organization, MIRC cannot endorse specific candidates in the upcoming elections. However, the organization does encourage civic engagement and works to support policies and legislation that enhance the lives of Maine’s communities: affordable housing, access to transportation and healthcare, and immigration reform are priorities. As MIRC’s Executive Director Mufalo Chitam said in January 2020, “Getting on a path to legal immigration is the number one goal of every immigrant family.” 

These issues are potentially at stake in this year’s election because the different candidates have wildly different positions on these issues. So, if you are registered to vote, please research the candidates and be sure to vote. If you are eligible to vote but not yet registered, now is a good time to get registered. Maine offers same-day voter registration, so it’s easy to play a role in democratic decision making! 

September 17 was Citizenship Day, commemorating the date in 1787 when the U.S. Constitution was signed. For Citizenship Day, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “encourages Americans to reflect on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship,” such as voting in elections. As summer turns into fall, more immigrants continue to arrive in Maine. A recent trend has been increased numbers of single adults arriving, rather than whole families. We have also started to see representation from a wider variety of countries of origin. It is MIRC’s hope that as Maine’s immigrants eventually become U.S. citizens, they will register to vote and become electoral participants.