I’m going to skip the flowy intro and get right to the point- midterm elections are exactly one week away. You don’t need me to tell you how important these elections are for the future of our country. I haven’t made my political views a secret, but I did my best to make this midterm voting guide non-partisan. Obviously, every state has its own procedures and deadlines, but the links below do a great job of breaking it down.
The one personal anecdote I will throw in relates to your local politicians. It can be really easy to focus on the big races like Congress while forgetting about local seats, but state houses and water reclamation districts make just as big of an impact on our everyday lives. So, I really, really encourage you to do some research to make sure you’re picking the best person for the job. I know I used to just randomly check names on the ballot thinking “Hey, it’s Chicago. Anyone I chose will have similar values and policies.” I’m now married to someone who works on local campaigns for a living, and I realize the errors in my thinking. Sure, two people might have “Democrat” next to their name- but who has a history of supporting the causes you support? Who has stood up and made an impact? And, particularly in Chicago, who got to where they are on merit and not last name or connections?
Here are the most helpful resources and links for navigating all this midterm craziness-
Rock the Vote– Are you even registered to vote? Things like moving can impact your registration status, and it would suck to show up only to realize you can’t vote. Or maybe you’re registered but need an absentee ballot? You can go to Rock the Vote, plug in your state, and get all the relevant information you need prior to voting day. For example, I found out that Illinois’ online voter registration deadline has already passed. However, you can register in person on election day, and you have until Monday, November 5th to request your absentee ballot.
BallotReady– This site does an amazing job of breaking down the races you’ll see on your ballot. You simply type in your address, and they’ll give you a full list of every candidate on your ballot. You can also click on each candidate to get a brief rundown of their views on major issues. However, I’d recommend doing a little more research on races you’re conflicted over.
Vote Save America– So where are you actually supposed to go on election day? You can plug your address into this site to get your polling location. You can also make your voting plan, including choosing a time and getting reminders. There’s also a ton more on this site so I’d recommend you search around a bit more! Hey, you can never be too informed, right?
Vote With Me– Know someone who has opinions but can be a little apathetic about voting? This site lets you see if they’re living in a swing district. This way you can get on them about their civic duties! Trust me, they’ll thank you later.
Swing Left– As the name suggests, this site is left-leaning. It shows you volunteering opportunities to get out the vote in swing districts near you. Personally, I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than knocking doors or making phone calls for a candidate. However, this is an integral part of the campaign process and can make a huge difference!
No matter your political views, the voting process is one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. It can feel overwhelming to research candidates, register, and get to your polling place on election day, but there are so many resources out there to help- including this midterm voting guide! Personally, I’m planning to vote early since getting out of work on election day is tricky. I’m obviously hoping to see some major shifts in our country after this election day, but nothing will change if people don’t go vote. So let’s show up and make our voices heard.