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María Quiñones-Sánchez cast her vote for the 2020 Presidential Election at Julia de Burgos Elementary School in Fairhill, Philadelphia. Photo: Ericka Conant, AL DÍA News
María Quiñones-Sánchez cast her vote for the 2020 Presidential Election at Julia de Burgos Elementary School in Fairhill, Philadelphia. Photo: Ericka Conant, AL DÍA News

Councilmember María Quiñones-Sánchez casts her vote at first bilingual voting center in Philadelphia

The first bilingual voting site also serves as a one-stop-shop for voter access.

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Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez cast her early vote for the 2020 Presidential election Sept. 29 at Julia de Burgos Elementary School in Fairhill, the first bilingual polling site in the city.

It came on the first day of early voting in Pennsylvania.

Quiñones-Sánchez cast her vote after announcing new resources for COVID-19 prevention and testing for underserved and marginalized constituents in her district. 

For Latinx residents, specifically the Puerto Rican population residing in the area, the polling site will make a tremendous impact for working families because it accommodates busy schedules.

“We’ve never had an opportunity to have a bilingual center that folks could utilize seven days a week, where they can confirm their registration, or they can come register, where they can request a ballot, where they can leave a ballot,” Quiñones-Sanchez told AL DÍA. 

“One of the things we’ve learned with COVID, is Latinos are essential workers, so our hours vary, and not everybody can get to a center between seven to eight or nine. This will ensure that people can plan.”

Latinas, she noted, are one of the driving forces behind the Latinx vote, and the power of the Latina vote in the 2020 election has the capacity to tip the scale because of the role Latinas play in tier communities. The role of the matriarch has a significant impact when it comes to politics.

“Women are super voters, in that women can drag our children and our husbands out all in one trip,” she continued.

“We started this process in the Spring. The City of Philadelphia was confronted with many challenges. We have been working with the city council to make sure we have the resources necessary, the capacity necessary, to give everyone access to their votes,” Quiñones-Sánchez said.

She was joined by Rev. Danny Cortez with Esperanza Voter Registration and Testing, Pastor Marshall Mitchel with The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium (BDCC), State Representative Jason Dawkins, and City Commissioner  Lisa Deeley.

Quiñones-Sánchez also identified two new, free COVID-19 testing locations at Nueva Esperanza in Hunting Park and Northeast Baptist Church in Frankford  in conjunction with the BDCC. 

The polling place at Julia de Burgos is the first bilingual voting site in Philadelphia and also serves as a one-stop-shop for voter access. 

Deeley also joined Quiñones-Sánchez to stress the importance of not submitting a naked ballot — which occurs when a voter submits a ballot without first putting it in the provided “secrecy” envelope.

If Pennsylvania voters mail in their ballot without first inserting it in the secrecy envelope, the vote is invalid.

“The center is open, people should come, as the commissioner said, plan when you're going to come — you can come on a Saturday, you can come on a Sunday, come with a little bit of patience, and you will get taken through the process. But again, you can register, confirm your registration, request your mail-in vote, mail it, or submit it at that particular time,” said Quiñonez Sanchez.

 

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