If you haven’t made it to the polls to vote yet you still have plenty of time as election day approaches. Your vote matters. Here are few tips as you head out to the polls.
Let your voice be heard. Winning is valuable, but it is not the only important thing in elections. Narrow wins and losses can help candidates determine whether to keep pursuing specific political career paths. Additionally, issues that lose by a narrow margin but are in the best interest of the community can gain momentum and possibly win in future elections. Your voice and your vote matters.
Read information from diverse sources. Don’t limit your resources to websites and news sources that support specific candidates or positions. Consider and evaluate different perspectives to gain a clearer view on issues and the truth about any given candidate.
Many times, candidates and their supporters (and certain news organizations) will say whatever they think you want to hear. If they’re already in office, check their voting records. If they are making promises, ask for details on how they plan to accomplish their goals. If a candidate cannot share a plan of action, their promises are likely just an attempt to gain votes.
You may find that your beliefs align best with a third-party candidate. Don’t listen to those who would say “A vote for a third-party candidate is like a vote for Candidate X”, because supporters of X will say the same about Candidate Y. Vote your conscience and no matter the outcome, you will know you stayed true to your values.
Elections can get pretty intense with so many varying priorities and goals, seemingly more now than ever before. Have respect for those who have differing beliefs. Engage in conversation to gain understanding rather than to prove who is right or wrong on a given issue.
Many times, people decide not to even show up at the polls. According to a 2016 post-election recap by Penn State, while about 138 million Americans voted, that only represents a little over half of the voting-eligible population. Most polling locations now offer early voting prior to the set election day to provide everyone an opportunity to make their voice heard. You can even “show up“ via an absentee ballot in certain situations.
Your vote is your voice, make sure your perspective is heard. See you at the Polls!