Vote Vote Vote
Surely you’ve heard this by now, but the November 3 election (just 18 days away) is likely to be one of the most consequential of our lifetimes. The results of our collective ballots will influence civil rights, our climate, healthcare, the economy, and immigration for years to come. But in order to have a say in how these important policies are shaped going forward, nothing is more important than your vote and engagement. Ready? Look over our steps to be sure your vote counts and your voice is heard this November.
Check Your Registration
First and foremost, make sure you are registered to vote. In case you haven’t registered, first look up the deadlines using Ballotpedia’s easy tool to see if there’s still time. If there’s still time, this link will walk you through the online steps to register by state. But even if you are registered and have voted before, it’s important to check to make sure the status of your registration is active and to update any personal information. You can check your registration status online.
Make a Voting Plan
Are you planning on voting by mail or in person at the polls? Either option is going to take a little research into the options in your area. Find the absentee (meaning mail-in) voting rules for your state. If you want to vote by mail, make sure to follow steps to request a ballot on time for the deadlines. And then make sure you mail it back according to the deadline rules. Some states require that ballots be submitted and received by November 3—not just postmarked by that day—and therefore you’ll need to send yours in well in advance.
If you’re voting in person, look up your polling place so you know where you’re headed. Make sure you bring a face mask and plenty of hand sanitizer with you, and perhaps a snack and a book. Many polling places have opened for early voting, but the lines can be extremely long.
Talk to Your Friends and Family
Okay, so you’re registered and have figured out your own voting plan, but are the people around you? Check in with your friends and family members and encourage them to vote using the steps above. If you’re going to vote in person, see if you can give someone a ride or if you can line up at the polls together.
Down-ballot Voting Matters
Yes, the federal-level election is especially important this year, but don’t forget down-ballot—meaning local and state races—voting matters, especially for your community. Ben & Jerry actually explain it best. Things like education funding, city infrastructure, and policing are highly influenced by the people you might be voting on. Do some research on the local elections in your area to make sure you know which candidates you are planning to support. You can find the local election information by looking up the election website for each state.
Know the Facts
Perhaps you have some family members on Facebook with opinions, or your Twitter feed is full of conflicting information. There is a lot of bad information out there, as well as stories from biased sources. Seek out unbiased media to find the facts for yourself without feeling pushed towards one opinion or another. Use this chart to see where major media companies fall on the bias scale.
Now that you’re registered, prepared, and informed, get to voting!