Election 2016: Woman becomes US citizen, casts first ballot on same day

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After 10 years of waiting, Colombia native Neddy Tomayo officially became a U.S. citizen on Tuesday morning. Going through the ceremony on Election Day made the day even more special.

Mauricio Delgado said his mother is really happy to be able to vote and is looking forward to voting for the first woman president.

"She said that she wants to vote for Hillary. It's going to be a historic day," Delgado said.

So with citizenship papers in hand, Tomayo walked two blocks from the ceremony to register. Thanks to new laws, she is now able to register on the day of the election and then cast her ballot.

Experts said Tomayo is part of a big surge of voting among recent immigrants, particularly Latinos.

"The opportunity to vote for our first woman president, the opportunity to really make our voice heard given just the challenging nature of this campaign, and seeing increased Latino turnout is really meaningful," said Sylvia Puente, Latino Policy Forum.

There are groups of immigrants motivated by both presidential candidates. Donald Trump drew endorsements from Polish and Greek groups during a recent visit to Chicago. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights also coordinated a massive get-out-the-vote effort.

"We have phone bank operations, we have people knocking on doors," said Lawrence Benito, ICIRR.
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