The midterm election is just around the corner. This election season is particularly intense as there’s so much at stake for the American people. Voters hope the next group of elected officials will fix persisting economic issues post-pandemic.
People are feeling the crunch with rising food, gas and housing costs even as the economy has been trending in a positive direction overall. There’s a lot at stake, requiring everyone’s attention and participation.
No one should feel like they must set aside part of their needs when they cast a ballot. Threats to democracy, reproductive freedom and economic concerns are not trade-offs. They all matter. And people should be able to live free of fear that their needs won’t be met.
To make an impact, it’s essential to get out there and vote. But before heading to the ballot, it’s vital that people feel informed and educated about issues and policies impacting their community.
Here are a few things to consider before heading to the polls.
What is a midterm election?
The question may seem silly, but you’d be surprised. There are a lot of people who are unaware of the importance of the midterm election. But the midterms are an opportunity to elect new members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
Currently, the Democrats hold control of both houses, but the Republicans are just a few seats away from taking back that power. Members of Congress work together to create laws that impact the American people. Moving forward on issues like extending the child tax and the earned income credits, expanding people’s right to vote and fair representation and protecting individual bodily autonomy are all at stake.
Your vote plays a vital part in this process. The Vote 411 search tool can also help you research candidates and issues on the ballot.
When is the midterm election?
The midterm election takes place on Nov. 8. Voters will also select new governors and other vital positions that directly impact people’s lives.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, voters in these 18 states and the District of Columbia may be eligible for same-day voter registration.
Washington, D.C., California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Also, North Carolina permits same-day registration during its early voting period, which ends on Nov. 5.
Where can you cast your ballot?
Vote.org has a poll locator that you can utilize to find voting sites in your area. You can also use the comprehensive tool to search for early voting sites.
If you opted to vote by mail, don’t delay returning your ballot. Rules for when the election office must receive a ballot vary from state to state. Check to see if you can drop your ballot in a secure drop box.
Black Progressive Action Coalition also allows users to find polling locations in their area. Double-check to see if times have been updated at your polling site. Some organizations like VoteRiders offer travel accommodations to people in need.
Check out a sample ballot
Make sure to vote all the way down your ballot. You may miss your chance to cast your vote in some critical categories. Voters often overlook attorney generals, secretaries of state and other important offices. Check your ballot to see if candidates are running for some of these offices in your area.
And if it’s too much to remember, write down your choices so that you can go to the polls prepared.
Know your rights
Political tensions are running high this election season. Some voters are being harassed and intimidated at the polls. Safety concerns have risen over the last week following an incident in Arizona, where early voters were filmed, photographed, and followed out of a parking lot after they cast their ballots at a drop box in the Pheonix suburbs.
Be aware of your surroundings, and if possible, head to the polls with a friend or family member. Also, 866-Our-Vote is a hotline that voters can use anywhere in the country. Whether you are voting early or on election day, if you have an issue, call this hotline for support.
Share this information with five friends or loved ones. Find the sample ballot for the upcoming elections in your area, and then make sure you check out our Election Resource Center for more information.
Written by NewsOne’s editorial team.
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