After becoming a citizen of the United States this past year, Madison resident Alicia Otavo realized a lifelong dream when she voted for the first time as an American citizen Tuesday.
Voting for Alicia was a fun family affair, who proudly went to the polls with her granddaughter Jackie Nappo and daughter, Patricia Nappo.
After being congratulated by poll workers at her District 1 polling place Tuesday, Alicia went outside and checked out the offerings on the bake sale table set up for Daniel Hand High School's Nite In Hand celebration. She then meandered over to the Girl Scout cookie table, set up by a local Girl Scout Troop. While outside, laughing gently and smiling, she was congratulated by more friends.
Voting has not always been like that in Colombia, Alicia's native country, according to BBC:
Colombia ... evolved as a highly segregated society, split between the traditionally rich families of Spanish descent and the vast majority of poor Colombia ... In a country where the presence of the state has always been weak, the result has been a grinding war on multiple fronts, with the civilian population caught in the crossfire and often deliberately targeted for "collaborating". Human rights advocates blame paramilitaries for massacres, "disappearances," and cases of torture and forced displacement. Rebel groups are behind assassinations, kidnapping and extortion.
Patricia says Alicia is proud to be an American and was thrilled to go to the District 1 polling place with her granddaughter. Patricia noted that her mother has not been well, and so it was particularly important for her to vote this year. She also said her mother was thrilled to vote at the new Madison Senior Center, where she has spent many enjoyable hours with friends doing fun activities.