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A student protester's t-shirt during a demonstration for an end to deportations on June 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
What do undocumented immigrants, Karl Rove, Jon Stewart and Korean rapper Psy of "Gangnam Style" infamy have in common? They're all nominees for TIME's 2012 Person of the Year.
The magazine is asking readers to choose from among 40 nominee suggestions "the person you think most influenced the news this year for better or worse." As has happened in other years, some nominees are not a particular person but rather a newsworthy group of people, such as 2011's Person of the Year, "The Protester."
Why undocumented immigrants, and why this year? As TIME's Howard Chua-Eoan explains, this constituency found itself at the center of a major policy decision during the summer, when President Obama announced plans to grant temporary legal status to some young immigrants under deferred action. They also may have indirectly swayed the election, in turn potentially influencing future immigration policy. Chua-Eoan writes:
Suddenly the logjam of immigration reform shifted, as more than 1 million undocumented young people who had been in the country for the past five years found themselves with new opportunities. What is more, the sympathies of other groups of people who have undocumented relatives — and thus are mindful of their plight — may have clearly shifted to a President on a campaign for re-election, as evidenced by the preponderance of Hispanic and Asian-American voters casting their ballots for Obama.
Chastened by the results of the vote, the GOP has warmed to a legislative fix, increasing chances of comprehensive reform.
TIME is asking readers to click on circles marked "definitely" or "no way." So far, the "no ways" are in the lead (28,092), compared with 16,187 "definitely" votes for undocumented immigrants. The winner in the running so far is the new president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsy, with 174,238 "definitely" votes.
Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 12. The magazine plans to announce the winner Dec. 14. The Person of the Year cover issue, dated Dec. 31, goes on sale Dec. 21.
In the meantime, you can also weigh in our (nonscientific) poll, below, and share your thoughts below. (Voting in our poll won't affect TIME's decision; you can vote in their poll at this link.)