HARRISBURG – Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortés has announced the release of the first ever Voting Guide for New Citizens, which was distributed at a naturalization ceremony in Philadelphia.
“The department encourages new citizens to actively participate in the electoral process and contribute to our government at the local, state and national levels,” said Cortés. “By providing this guide, we hope to help our newest citizens become fully engaged in the civic life of their communities.”
About 1,600 people who took the oath of allegiance today during two ceremonies at the Philadelphia Convention Center received the first copies of the booklet.
Sara Manzano-Díaz, the Department of State’s deputy secretary for regulatory programs, served as the morning event’s keynote speaker. Following the naturalization ceremony, the new citizens had the opportunity to register to vote on site – their first official act.
The Department of State produced the Voting Guide for New Citizens in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Temple University’s Project SHINE.
The guide represents the first collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and a state government to produce a handbook that provides information to facilitate voter registration and encourage new Americans to vote. The Department of Homeland Security considers it a model for collaboration in other states.
The booklet explains the benefits of citizenship, instructs new citizens with step-by-step instructions on how to register to vote and cast a ballot, provides relevant information about state and local governments and lists contact information for each county board of elections.
The Voting Guide for New Citizens is also available at www.VOTESPA.com. Click on the “New Citizens Guide” link on the right of the screen.