I was 6 or 7 years old when I started voting. I know…early, right? I actually voted with my mom almost every time that she did. Likely, this is because she was a single mom and didn’t have a ton of options other than dragging me along. But, I also know that she felt strongly about showing me how important she took this right of hers.
And, so do I.
My kids have voted with me in almost every election since they’ve been born.
They’ve waited in line with me during insanely popular presidential elections and they’ve walked right in with me to vote during midterm primaries.
Through it all, they’ve watched me exercise this right that wasn’t always offered to women. They’ve asked questions, proudly worn stickers, and these days, have shaken hands with candidates and are intimately familiar with some of our local races.
Why? Because one day, their voice will matter at the polls.
One day, they’ll have an opportunity to cast a vote, and I want to do everything in my power now to make sure that when they do, showing up at the polls won’t be a game-day decision. I want to ensure that they will take time to learn about the candidates and the issues that matter to them.
Until then, my voice and my vote speaks on their behalf.
I am voting for candidates that I trust will make our community, state, and country one that my son and daughter can thrive in. I’m voting in the hopes that when they show up at the polls in ten years, they’ll have a list of respectable, trustworthy, and hardworking candidates to choose from. What if our kids were to one day look at the ballot in front of them and have a hard time choosing because the candidate choices were so solid? Call me crazy, but I think we can get there.
Truth is, I’m not only voting for their future that is decades in the making. I’m voting for my tomorrow, my next year, and the year after that. There’s work to be done in our world today and, right now, I can’t commit much more time to making these changes other than by casting my vote.
So, those couple of marks on my voting ballot carry much more weight than they appear.
They bear the weight of my having researched the candidates, their issues, and their character and believing that, if elected, they will work to make a difference.
You see, in a world where I, as a woman and a mother, am surrounded by the notion that it’s now ‘acceptable’ for women to be heard and not just seen, I’m politely calling BS on that. I don’t want women to just be ‘heard.’ I want us to have influence. And, the simplest way for us to wield influence over the direction of our government is on the first Tuesday in November.
So, let’s do this, ladies! Let’s SHOW UP. Overwhelmed with it all? Not to worry. We’re making it easy for you.
Step 1A: Make sure you’re registered to vote.
You’re registered? Atta girl! Skip to Step 2.
Step 1B: Not registered?
Pull it together, mama. Now’s our time to have real influence.
Step 2: Make a ‘day of’ plan.
Logistics, right? Are you schlepping to the polls before or after work? Are you dragging babies on your hips? Are you carpooling with friends to make sure your neighbors vote? Yes. Yes. And, Yes.
Wait? You can’t actually make it to your polling place? Again, there’s a fix (for many of us).
Apply to vote absentee if you qualify. Spoiler: if you’re pregnant, you qualify! But, hustle up, gurl. The deadline to apply is 7 days before Election Day by mail, fax, email, or online and 3 days before in person. So…get moving.
Go here to apply for an absentee ballot.
Step 3: Get informed.
Now, how many times have you shown up at the polls a bit (eh…em) ‘confused’ as to who or for what you were voting? Now’s the time to get caught up to speed on the issues and candidates that will be on your ballot. First, get a sample ballot so you can see which issues and candidates you will be voting for on election day.
Then, check out the candidates’ websites, social feeds, and, whenever possible, their voting records to get a solid sense of who they are and what they stand for.
Most likely, the candidates will have upcoming events and opportunities to meet them in person, which I highly recommend attending. These events are great opportunities to get a real sense of who that candidate is and how seriously they take their responsibility of representing constituents on both sides of the aisle.
Can’t make it in person? Sign up for their mailing list…you’ll know soon enough how open-minded they are, for real.
Step 4: Do the dang thang.
Head to the polls in November and proudly wear your ‘I voted’ sticker.
That’s it, really. It may look like a lot of work, but truly, it’s a huge responsibility that we have…choosing the folks that will serve on behalf of us, our family, and our community. So, it probably makes sense that it takes a bit more effort than filling out our kiddos’ beginning of the year school paperwork.