It blows my mind that with all of our marches, days without (insert marginalized group here), and opinionated social media-ing, millennial voter turnout is still abysmal. We all know about the presidential elections, which went so well last time, right?
But when it comes to voting for local elections, all I ever hear is:
“Oops, missed the registration cut-off. Again.”
“Was I supposed to vote? I didn’t know.”
“I can’t miss work to go vote. You don’t know my boss.”
“What does it matter, anyway? It’s not like this is a big one.”
“I don’t know anything about [the school board, Prop A-Z, etc.], anyway.”
“I’m not even a citizen. Stop bothering me about this already, geez.”
Aside from that last one, which I consider to be the only legitimate excuse, these piss me off. So, since I hear them every election, let’s tackle them one by one.
Problem: Not registered to vote
Solution: Register to vote (duh)
If you’re not registered and are currently reading my blog, first of all, thank you for reading this. You’re super cool. Second of all, this post will take you three minutes to read. Registering to vote will take only two. Sure, it’ll have fewer gifs, memes, and sarcastic comments, but it’s worth it. Do it here, right now!
It’s ridiculously easy, and the DMV prompts you to re-register whenever you get a new license or update your address. And if you already missed the cut-off, do it anyway! This way you won’t have any excuse next time.
Problem: Don’t know when to vote
Solution: Track your local elections
Shoutout to Los Angeles! Did you know we have a Municipal General Election on May 16th? Mark your calendar, and register by May 1st!
When you register to vote, you can opt in for text reminders for upcoming elections. If you’d rather not see it via text, there are election calendars available online, so put it on your personal calendar already. Set an alert or reminder a few weeks in advance to give yourself time to really dig into whatever you’re going to be voting on, and again, make sure you’re registered in advance.
And of course, for the lazy, there’s an app for that. MyTimeToVote will find the elections you’re eligible to vote on, and schedule reminders for you. Boom. Now there’s no excuse.
Problem: Boss won’t let you exercise your right to vote during business hours
Solution: Vote early, or mail it in!
I get it – some bosses, for whatever reason, think they’re more important than the political system, and won’t offer flexibility on voting day.
The good news is that you have options! Many states now have early voting options for large elections, and if not, you can mail it in! Personally, I’ll mail it in any chance I get, but it has pros and cons.
– You can research while you vote from the comfort of your living room
– You don’t have to wait in line, or worse, make small talk with people
– You can send it in at any point before the actual election day
– You have to opt-in in advance
– Mail-in votes take longer to count
– You need a stamp
Problem: It’s not a presidential election, so why bother.
Solution: Get your head out of your ass – it totally matters!
It’s not just the president that gets to chart the course for our nation. Almost every official, proposition, or measure that’s voted on makes an impact. Obama got to experience the magic of gridlock because he was working “with” a largely Republican House and Senate – officials who were voted in during the so-called small elections that “didn’t matter.” Trump now gets the fun of having a government run by a majority of Republicans. These elections have the power to change that!
Problem: Like Jon Snow, you know nothing.
Solution: Educate yourself!
Whatever the election, the internet can be your best friend. I’m obsessed with Ballotpedia because will literally take everything from each ballot and put it in plain English for you. Vote411 is another great resource, and I’m also a fan of Secretary of State site, for my fellow Californians.
And if you, like me, have experienced the magic of Tinder but also have #politicalfeels, there’s an app for you. While I prefer my own research methods, I do like that apps like Voter are making political awareness a bit more accessible, even if it’s just for Presidential campaigns (for now).
It’s time for our generation to stop shouting into the void, and start really making an impact by voting en masse. So, come next election, I hope everyone’s registered and prepared — or at least has a more creative excuse.