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Duval County Supervisor of Elections

105 E. Monroe St. Jacksonville, FL 32202


CONTACT: Britt Stromquist (813) 965-1690 Britt.stromquist@unf.edu FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NATURALIZED CITIZENS LEARN IMPORTANCE OF VOTING JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Sept. 27, 2012 - As Sichao Ni takes his Oath of Allegiance to become a citizen of the United States of America; he soon realizes how much he had to learn to become a voter in the 2012 election. The American flag waves of red, white and blue and the crisp air gives goose bumps as immigrants are about to make the biggest decision in their life. Soon after the words of, So help me God are uttered by Ni, he now understands the importance of the oath he just took. Sichao Ni, a sophisticated 24-year-old Chinese American and a recent graduate of the University of North Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree is --More--

making sure he is completely immersed in knowing the ways of an American life. Ni thinks it is extremely important for naturalized citizens to be aware of every candidate and cast their own vote. Ni sits back in his chair, completely relaxed with a smile that could lighten up an entire room. He is wearing a piercing black suit with a red-tie and an American lapel pin over his heart, showing his new American pride. Ni expresses tells of how he gets his own information for the election and what news media is most readily accessible for him. Voters are overwhelmed with the amounts of information they get through various venues, said Ni. Ni gets a lot of the information about elections from the Florida TimesUnion and uses online sources such as CNN, Fox News, and PBS. Ni said online sources tend to be quick, inexpensive, and right at my fingertips. The only way to fully integrate myself into the American culture and society is through active engagement and participation, Ni stated. The voting systems in China are very different than those of the United States. While China was predominately a dynastic ruling has now turned into the --More--

Republic of China and is slowly making its progression to become a democracy. China, nonetheless, will walk its own path establishing a socialistic democratic country, said Ni. Ni understands that China has a long way to go to become a democratic electing country like the United States, but shows no apprehensiveness that China will not succeed one day. This conversation of the voting differences soon raised the question of which languages will be presented on the ballots in Duval County. If the regular population is less than 5 percent then the ballot must be in that language, Dennis said. There is not a group that matches this percentage; therefore the only language on the ballot will be English. When Ni was asked if he thinks it is a concern for there being one language on the ballot, he was quick to assess why this could be a very immense issue for naturalized citizens wanting to vote. --More--

Therefore, when it comes to naturalized citizens, there is a likely chance of some sort of language barrier that will take place. Ni responds to this topic and tells of his ideas in order to inform and teach naturalized citizens about voting and the English language. If the government at all levels or local communities started workshops to provide basic election and ballot training for naturalized citizens, then this group of citizens would more likely take interest in politics, said Ni. While there is a lot of pressure to maintain information for the election and there only being English on the ballot, Ni is very excited to vote in the election. He wants all naturalized citizens to vote and have their voice heard in their new country and make this the most successful election yet. ###