When we turn 18, we are granted the privilege of being able to vote in local, state, and national elections. We cast our votes to help shape the direction our country, to reflect our values and visions in the form of laws and elected officials. Even still, many people choose not to exercise their right to vote. Be it accessibility, apathy, not liking any of the candidates, or just not believing their vote will make a difference, there are many reasons why people don’t vote.
When people think of voting, they often think of the Presidential election that comes every 4 years, but there are many more elections that are just as, if not more important! State and local elections can happen every year with new initiatives, city counsel members, state legislators, governors, judges, and much more on the ballot. These elections are often overlooked, but they can be the most important as they affect the communities we live in! For those who are disenfranchised with the electoral college or political system as a whole, this is a surefire way to feel like your vote is making a difference. That is because it is!
Every two years, our country holds federal elections. That means that every two years, 1/3 of all US Senators and all 435 representatives in the House are up for re-election. When there is not a President up for election, we call these elections the Midterms as they happen midway through a President’s four-year term. Who we vote into Congress can be even more important than who we elect as President because it is the House of Representatives and the Senate who pass the bills that the President signs into law. Of course Presidents are important, but our representatives in Congress are who we voice our wants, needs, and concerns to with hope that they will do something about them!
This year, 2018, is a Midterm election, and an important one at that. The country is divided and so we need more people to make sure their voices are heard and participate in their civic duty! It is IMPORTANT for you to vote because it is We The People who decide how this country is run.
The first step is to get Registered to Vote!!! If you are not registered, this may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually SO easy. For example, in Oregon, whenever you update your address with the US Postal Service, they give you the option to Register to Vote!
If you still need to register, you may do so online here (some states may differ): https://vote.gov/
To vote in the Midterm elections, you must be registered by October 16th as the ballots will be mailed out on October 17th. You will have until October 29th to safely mail in your ballot, but you may drop your ballot off in one of the many Official Ballot Drop-boxes across Multnomah County until Election Day (Nov. 6th) at 8:00pm.
We sincerely hope that you feel empowered to participate in this 2018 election. We understand it may seem overwhelming, but there are many resources available to you online to help you through the process, some listed below.