by Paula Drew, WECA Research and Policy Analyst
I have been voting for 20 years. I don’t have an idyllic memory of the first time I voted. In fact, I don’t remember my first vote at all. I have memories of votes I’ve cast for candidates that meant a lot to me. I also have memories of looking at a ballot and feeling embarrassed because I did not recognize all the names listed on it.
My BEST voting memory is from a time when the line at my polling place was so long that it circled around the entire outside of the building. It was a chilly night and I wasn’t properly dressed to be standing outside for hours. But- the energy was electric, and that enthusiasm warmed me from the inside out. Looking around the crowd, everyone’s eyes glimmered of hope and it seemed we were all a part of something much greater than ourselves.
The truth is, we ARE all a part of something much greater than ourselves each and every time we vote! Every vote we cast is a powerful way of saying “hey, this is how I feel about the future for myself, my loved ones and my community.” When we vote, we equalize the playing field. When we choose not to vote, we choose to put our future in someone else’s hands.
Now, you wouldn’t blindly purchase a house, choose your child’s school or accept a new job without knowing the finer details that come with those choices, would you? So- I wouldn’t suggest doing that with your vote either. Trust me, it’s embarrassing! The good news is – – the miracles of technology have made accessing straightforward information about ballots and candidates very easy. So easy, that even a busy, full-time working mom, graduate student like myself can now make better choices. With the 2018 fall general election right around the corner, it’s time to start planning your vote. On November 6th, we want you to join all of us at WECA and in all parts of our beautiful nation to decide collectively where we go next!
Here’s what you need to know.
When: Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 7:00am – 8:00pm. Take a moment right now to decide a time on this day that you will vote and put it on your calendar.
Where: Find your polling station location. Never been there before? Cruise by a week or so in advance so that you are aware of the parking and accessibility options.
How: Confirm that you are registered to vote at your current home address and don’t forget your ID. Don’t have a driver’s license? No problem. Click here now to get a free voter ID card. Going to be out of town? Click here to learn about absentee voting.
Why: Find out what’s going to be on your individual ballot here and then set aside a little time each week to learn about the candidates and issues. Most importantly, know what’s important to you and don’t be bashful about calling a candidate’s headquarters to ask where they stand on an issue (use these sample questions to guide that discussion).
Take it to the next level:
- Take someone with you who might otherwise not make the commitment to vote.
- Organize a group of co-workers or friends to head to the polls as a team.
- Volunteer at your local polling place or for a candidate you believe in.
- Consider a future run for office if the candidates out there do not represent your values.
Voting for early care and education issues? Take a selfie with your “I voted” sticker and post it to social media with the tag #ECEWins