In the event you’ve been living under a rock, election day 2018 is tomorrow (though if you live in one of the many states that enacted early voting, you may have already cast your ballot). While the midterm elections may seem like small potatoes compared to the presidential elections, it has become increasingly clear over the past several years that every vote counts — in every election.
This year is no different, with 435 House seats, 35 Senate seats, the majority of governorships, and mayoral positions up for election, along with a number of local positions — everyone down to town council and school board officials are being chosen — what’s decided by voters tomorrow will have lasting impact through 2030 and beyond.
What does this mean for you? It means that the officials elected into office by you and your peers will be the ones making the big decisions — on the environment, on equal rights, on healthcare and more. Election day is about more than choosing to re-elect a government official or choosing to elect someone new. Elections serve as a demonstration of our democracy and hold the officials we do elect accountable. Ideally, those we elect want to make their constituents happy (hopefully because they want to make the world a better place and not just, you know, so we re-elect them next time around), so they (ideally) do right by the voters who put them in office.
If you still have questions about who’s running, what their platforms are, and what referendums are taking place in your area, you’re not alone. Amidst all the political ads, roadside signs and influx of news, it’s natural to feel a little confused — overwhelmed even. Thankfully, ballotready.org exists to make order from the chaos — head there and enter your location to read all about your candidates and measures so you can arrive at the ballot box prepared to exercise your democratic power.
But showing up at the polls isn’t the only way to vote (though we urge you to cast your ballot in this and every election). Voting with your dollars is the everyday way to make your voice heard by literally putting your money where your mouth is by choosing to support or boycott companies, brands, goods producers, etc. in line with your politics. In other words, economic pressure — or buoyancy.
Does voting with your dollar work?
Several high-profile movements in the past few years point to a resounding yes. Ride-share service Uber lost over 200,000 users during the #DeleteUber movement, which arose when it was revealed that the company and its president had ties to the current administration. Another example? Consumers put the economic pressure on Nordstrom to drop a line of clothing that bore the name of a certain presidential daughter — and the store eventually obliged, along with a number of others. Turns out, our wallet is our everyday tool for making our voices heard and making real, tangible change happen. Ready to put those dollars to work? Read on for four ways to make a difference everyday:
#1 — Want to curb pesticide use?
Buy local and/or organic. Supporting your local organic farmers not only supports your local economy, it also adds to the growing percentage of people choosing organic over conventionally grown goods. As farmers’ markets grow in popularity and organic food and produce becomes more commonplace, larger retailers are forced to keep up — with many major retailers purchasing from local producers and carrying a larger selection of organic options. Need help choosing the most sustainable option? Apps like HowGood help consumers make the most informed decision they can.
#2 — Want to support greener energy?
Choose green appliances. If you have visions of a greener earth (and really, it’s something we should all be picturing), choosing to invest in greener appliances, wind and/or solar energy, and fuel-efficient cars tells larger corporations that green energy and technology isn’t just worth investing in — it’s imperative to them staying afloat. And renters, don’t skim past this one. If you pay a heat or electric bill, many local companies offer a green energy option that’s as simple as checking off a box on your bill.
#3 — Want to end animal testing?
Choose cruelty-free. One day animal testing with be a thing of the past, until that day comes, there are plenty of ways to ensure the products you’re purchasing weren’t tested on animals. Cruelty-Cutter allows you to scan a barcode while shopping to learn about a brand’s animal testing policies, and sites like Cruelty Free Kitty offer strategies and tips for shopping cruelty free.
#4 — Want to support a healthy economy?
Buy from your community. While not all local businesses may share your beliefs, investing your money in goods from local vendors (and no, we’re not talking your local big box store) is an investment in your community. Sure, that book may be a few bucks cheaper on Amazon, but by purchasing it from your local bookstore, you’re ensuring your dollars stay in the community, which ensures jobs stay in your community, which ensures the health of your community.
How do you vote with your dollar? Share with our community by tagging us on social with @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenMagazine