Make sure you’re registered to vote in the midterms, rally your friends, and get to know the important issues on the ballot. Your vote has the power to shape the future.
Midterm voting is never particularly sexy. But exercising your constitutional right allows you to have a say about the issues you care about, the future of our country, and the fate of our planet.
Consider this: the leaders we elected to Congress in the 2020 midterms recently passed the two most important pieces of climate legislation in history. That’s huge! But it’s only step one. The success of that legislation — where funds are appropriated for clean energy infrastructure, water and air protections, the transition to electric vehicles, and emissions reductions — will be determined by those that we elect in the November midterms.
In short, elections matter. So does making sure you’re educated about what’s on the ballot and the candidates who are running.
Here’s how to prepare (and get excited for!) the 2022 midterm election.
If you’re a registered voter, double-check your status on Vote.org to make sure your registration is valid and your information is up to date. Not registered? Use the same website to fill out a voter registration application in a matter of minutes.
Next, decide how you want to vote. While most voters will head to the polls to vote in person on November 8, that’s not your only option. Say you’re traveling, won’t be able to make it to your polling place on election day, or simply don’t want to vote in person. You can vote by mail. Request an absentee ballot (if you’ll be out of the country or have an illness or a disability) or a mail-in ballot (for all other cases) online.
Once you’ve registered to vote or requested a mail-in ballot — rally your friends! See if your older family members or elderly neighbors need help with their registration or transportation on election day. The more people we can get to the polls the better.
Read more: Want to Help Others Vote? Here’s How.
Where you vote depends on where you live in a given county or city. For example, you and a friend may vote at different polling locations, even if you only live 10 minutes from each other. And if you show up at the wrong polling place, you won’t be allowed to vote at that location.
Figure out where you need to go to cast your vote ahead of time, the hours of operation, and the voter identification requirements (these vary from state to state). From there, you’ll be able to make a plan for election day. Deciding when you’ll vote — before work, during lunch, after work, or some time in between — will ensure everything goes smoothly. You’ll also reduce your risk of forgetting to vote altogether or missing out due to poor planning.
Understanding the issues on the ballot is a surefire way to get your friends, family, and community excited about the midterms. Whether you’re concerned about the economy, climate change, equal rights, a woman’s right to choose, or how your county is allocating the budget for education, everyday citizens (that’s you!) have the power to influence how these issues are handled at the local, state, and federal levels. But that only rings true if you show up and vote.
It’s also helpful to know what issues are top of mind for fellow voters. This information will give you insight into what’s important, or not so important, to citizens across the country as well as which issues are hot topics in your area. Check out this chart from Axios that highlights absolute interest — or the topics people are Googling the most in their districts — and relative interest — or the interest in a topic from one district to another to see what other voters care about in this election. You may be surprised at the results.
Who is running for election is just as important as the issues. In fact, they’re inextricably linked. It can be tempting to go straight down the ballot and vote only for the party you support — but your views on particular issues may not actually align with every candidate your party supports.
That’s why it’s necessary to get to know the candidates running for local, state, and federal positions. Ballotpedia has a comprehensive list of each state’s candidates that includes background on their experience as well as information about the issues they support and quotes they’ve given to the media concerning their views. And, if after doing your research, you’re still not sure who to support, use the Sierra Club’s list of candidates they’re endorsing as a guide.
Remember, democracy doesn’t work unless we all participate. Don’t sit this one out — let’s get out the vote!
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