Tens of millions of service men and women, activists, volunteers, and other heroes have fought, suffered, and given their lives for us to have the right to vote in a free and fair democracy.
By no means do we have a perfect democracy (no government does), and some may even argue that we don’t even have a good one, but the ONLY way to incrementally get closer to an expansive, well-functioning democracy is through mass numbers of good citizens exercising their right to vote.
The alternative – apathy, sitting on the sidelines, intolerance of imperfection, and low voter turnout – will lead to the opposite happening – an erosion or total absence of democracy.
This is particularly important for the Gen Z and millennial generations. Historically, younger generations turn out to vote at a fraction of the rates of older generations. Consequently, they are a lesser focus for our elected officials. If our generations don’t turn out to vote, we don’t set the agenda, we defer, give up, and hand over our future to a voting demographic that won’t have to live with the consequences of their vote for nearly as long as we will. Civic engagement is a necessary responsibility and a duty of adulthood. If you want to be listened to, you have to collectively make noise.
It may sound cliché, but this is the most important election of our lifetimes. Decency, voter health, the economy, rights, transparency, accountability, and even democracy itself are all on the ballot. Your country needs you.
I won’t make any endorsements and tell you what individuals or parties to vote for, but I will ask that you consider the following characteristics and credentials, up and down the entire ballot, for the best outcome…
- Those who want to work hard on your behalf and believe they can make a difference.
- Those who at least attempt to lead with compassion, ethics, transparency, accountability, selflessness, reason, honesty, and unity.
- Those who want to find solutions to the challenges at hand and move their city, county, district state, country forward.
- Those who want to expand rights and democracy, and serve as many constituents as they can.
DO NOT Vote for:
- Those who do not believe their role has any value in improving lives or making things better.
- Those who lead with distraction, secrecy, division, fear, lies, and hate – for the advancement of self – at the expense of the collective.
- Those who turn their backs on solving problems with distractions and divisive rhetoric.
- Those who want to limit rights and democracy, and serve as few constituents as they can.
Make a Plan to Vote
With COVID, this is a weird election, but don’t let that deter you from voting. It’s too late to vote by mail at this point, but it’s not too late to vote. Here’s a general plan of action:
If you have not yet registered to vote yet: you can register to vote as late as Election Day in the following states: AK, CA, CO, CT, HI, ID, IL, IA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MT, NV, NH, RI, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY + Washington, DC.
If you requested an absentee ballot: drop it off to your local clerk or an official drop box ASAP (and before polls close on Tuesday). Make sure you read and follow all of the instructions on the ballot/envelope.
If you did not request an absentee ballot: find an early voting location (Monday) or polling location (Tuesday) to vote in person.
Know what’s on your ballot: enter your location here to see what’s on your ballot and candidate responses to questions.
To find voting locations, registration, rules, and more voter info, by location: check out this site.
Know your rights, and voter ID requirements in your state:
- If you encounter problems at your polling location, don’t walk away. Stay in line (even if the polls close). Say: “Please give me a provisional ballot, with receipt, as required by law.”
- If you experience intimidation or encounter other problems, call the national election protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) or look up local and state official numbers here.
This Tuesday, you can help set the agenda. Text or call your friends and family members to do the same, and let’s get it done. Every single vote matters.
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