You would have to live in a cave if you did not know we have an election. Candidate ads on TV, radio and social media have been out since spring, our mailboxes have been flooded with campaign literature, and lawn signs are popping up everywhere.
In the past, this election would have been considered an off-year election because we are not electing a President, but the reality is that this election is crucial.
Not only will we select the entire U.S. House of Representatives and one-third of the U.S. Senate seats many states like Pennsylvania will elect a new governor along with state legislators and officials in counties and municipalities.
These elected officials will decide many of the critical issues facing our country, including voting rights, a woman’s right to choose, climate change, and gun legislation, not to mention local matters like school funding. These are all issues young people care about and are organizing around.
After the shooting at Stoneman Douglass High School in 2018, students organized and questioned their elected officials about gun violence. They founded March for Our Lives and galvanized 1.2 million people to march for gun control across the country. On June 11 this year, demonstrations were held in over 450 locations worldwide. Young people are not only organizing. They are running for office to effect change.
All over this country, organizations are working with high schools and colleges to ensure they are registered to vote and providing education to students on issues and how to have their voices heard. In the last election, the youth vote increased by over 11% nationally and made a difference.
RESEARCH candidates by going to the candidate’s websites to see where they stand on issues. Attend candidate forums and ask questions. Get a sample ballot, so you know what will be on the ballot. Pay particular attention to the questions.
VOTE! Create a plan for election day. Your goal should include knowing where your polling place is, and the hours you can vote.
GET INVOLVED. No matter your age, you can still be involved by joining a club in your school that works on issues you care about or volunteering with local political organizations or candidates.
I hope you do so if you are eligible to vote, and if you have children eligible to vote, you encourage them to vote.
To check your eligibility to vote or register, visit the National Association of Secretary of States, an independent website not affiliated with a political party.