Beyond-Voting María Revelles, Florida director of Chispa, recommended joining community groups working on specific issues. In this way, citizens can focus their efforts and enthusiasm.
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Nearly 160 million people voted in this election—the highest turnout in over a century. What else can be done to contribute toward positive change?

The United States experienced a historic 65.1% turnout rate at the polls—the highest in over a century. The desire for change motivated millions of people take an interest in politics and vote. About 160 million people voted in the 2020 general election.

After the historic turnout, there is much work to be done to positively impact your community.

According to María Revelles, Florida director of Chispa, a Latino climate-action initiative, now is the time to consider how we can contribute to the community beyond voting. 

“While what happens at the electoral moment is decisive, what’s done at the non-electoral moment is what really makes for change,” Revelles told The Americano. “It’s what builds the fiber of society and civil work.” 

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The activist said people who feel they made a difference with their vote can contribute beyond elections by channeling enthusiasm into what is known as civic engagement.

Revelles said that, for example, people could check in with their neighbors on community issues they might have discussed before the elections—especially with people who voted for the first time or who had not voted in years.  

“Ask them how they feel, ask them to give you feedback because there is a lot of conversation going on about the nature of democracy, and many people are wondering what will happen,” Revelles said. 

“Donald Trump has broken with the tradition of admitting his defeat in the elections—he is trying to stay at the White House until the very end,” the activist said. “Those are things that do not happen in American democracy and should not happen. This is not a dictatorship.”

The activist said staying well-informed is important by making sure information is reliable and coming from trusted media outlets.  

Revelles emphasized the importance of reflecting on what motivated you to vote in the first place. That will help you identify the main issues that interest and affect you, she said.

“Perhaps you were displaced by Hurricane María or became more aware of issues surrounding climate change—perhaps you have children who are ill, and issues of health are more important for you,” the director said.

Revelles recommended joining community groups working on specific issues. In this way, citizens can focus their efforts and enthusiasm.

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Another way to engage, said the activist, is to become familiar with political processes in your state. For instance, Redistricting in Florida will take place next year—new congressional and state legislative district boundaries will be set based on census figures. Also, the next election for Florida’s governor will be in 2022.

“People should begin to inform themselves about issues that matter to them,” Revelles said. “If you are interested in a particular school, find out how you can be a member of the school board or the town’s legislature. Don’t let the heat go down—use it to advance our communities’ agendas.”