As you know, the time to register to vote in order to participate in the mid-term elections is dwindling down. We know there is a lot of information out there, some of it helpful and some of it confusing. What’s great about the internet? It democratizes information and makes it available to almost everyone. What’s great about forward thinking graphic designers, coders and copywriters? They organize that information into a neat and tidy websites that are easy to navigate and present the information in a way we can understand (cuz geez it gets complicated.)
We wanted to be one more little cricket on your shoulder encouraging you to register to vote and cast your ballot this election season. A lot of us are focused on Presidential elections, which is awesome but the mid-terms are equally worthy of our attention.
Mid-term elections are a time when we vote in members of Congress and—depending on where you live—governors, mayors and local public officials. Basically, it’s a great way to elect members to represent your community at ground level to create changes from the bottom up.
Incredibly, many of us have only relatively recently gained access to voting rights, and for this reason, it is important that we exercise them to the fullest degree. How can we make sure members of minority groups are represented? Voting. How can we make sure progressive legislation is passed? Voting. A democracy is at peak functionality when everyone is involved. It can be a great source of motivation to read up on this history of suffrage and major landmarks in voting rights. The ACLU is a great resource for this and you can check out this informative timeline as well as this interactive map that highlights voter suppression laws in different states. It's super fascinating.
Now that you’ve done a little bit of reading up, take a second to make sure you're registered and where you polling place is. This website is a great resource. It’s easy to navigate and holds your hand through the whole process. Piece of cake! Not only that, but you can also learn where to volunteer and other ways to help in your state. Change starts at a local level and having access to the right tools and people can really get the fire going.
Once you’re absolutely certain you’ll be able to vote on election day (or earlier!), you’ve got to get to know your candidates. Emily’s List is a rad platform that “recruits women to run for office at every level across the country,” by strategizing and supporting candidates’ campaigns from start to finish. Emily’s List also “began comprehensive research on the political views and voting behaviors of women to dispel myths about their involvement in the political process.” They are committed to supporting women of all races, orientations, gender identities and ages. As East Fork is a majority-female company, this is a personally valued resource for us!
Another great resources is Swing Left, which was created after Donald Trump was elected. Its aims to help us help democrats take back the House of Representatives in 2018. In the last election, a lot of the conservative candidates won in Swing Districts by a fine line. According to their website, “There are 84 Swing Districts. These are places where the last election was won by 15% of the vote or less, where Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump, where a high concentration of Swing Left volunteers make certain districts very winnable, or where other, specific circumstances make it a competitive district. We need to flip at least 23 seats to take back the House in 2018.” This resource give you opportunities to fundraise or volunteer for local progressive candidates.
Last but not least, stay updated! Don’t wait until the month before an election to learn what’s going on and who’s on the ballot. It’s important to keep abreast on candidates and issues, so that when the time comes, you can make an informed decision and confidently cast your vote. Here at East Fork, we love a good podcast. Here are some podcasts that we love:
Many of us have the privilege of being able to “opt-out” of politics, but many of us don’t. Privilege is a spectrum and comes in many suits like skin color, wealth, looks, status, health, gender and orientation. In order for the equal, just and compassionate society we need to emerge, the people with privilege need to use it to fight for the people without it. It’s done by standing up for equal rights and actively dismissing racist, sexist, and classist ideals, legislation, candidates and systems for the health of us all. Sometimes that means sitting down and listening, sometimes that means standing up and resisting. And, while volunteering, donating and fundraising are really sure-fire ways to combat injustice, we can’t forget to vote. Hit the polls my friends! See you there :-*