School’s back in session – which means there’s probably a lot going on in your personal life on top of all the big changes we’ve been going through as a country this year! But don’t let the flurry of back to school time make you forget about VOTING! The 2020 Election is just around the corner – on November 3rd to be exact - but California and cities statewide have created easy ways to vote in person or by mail before then too!
Voting – and/or getting involved in elections – are one of the best ways you can stand up for yourself, your family, and the issues you care about.
Check out the information below for all of the things you can do to make your vote count, and your voice heard between now and Election Day!
1. First thing’s first: REGISTER!
- If you’re a US Citizen and turn 18 before November 3, you can register online TODAY! It’s easy. You can register in under 2 minutes here!
- If you’ve already registered, it’s still a good idea to check – just in case. And if you’ve moved since last time you’ve registered, you’ll need to register again and change your address! You can check to see if you’re registered here.
- The deadline to register to vote by mail is Monday, October 19 – either online, or postmarked and mailed.
- All California voters will receive a ballot in the mail this year! You can mail your ballot, drop it off at an approved location, or choose to vote in person.
- FYI: Californians have been able to vote by mail for many years, but due to COVID-19 it’s more important than ever. Choose your voting method based on what makes you feel the safest and most comfortable!
- The early voting period runs from Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. Check your county’s website for more information!
- If you choose not to vote by mail, you can still register and vote in person on Election Day.
2. Find out who + what you’re voting for!
Voting is one of the best ways to use your voice to make a change about the issues you care about. That’s why it’s so important to vote! Read up on local and national candidates to see what they think about reproductive issues, sexual health education and information, as well as other issues close to your heart – immigration, climate change, racial equity, gun reform – or anything else you might care about! Then use your vote to make a difference.
What’s on the ballot?
President: The president is one of our most important political leaders, with the ability to sign legislation into law as well as appoint Supreme Court Justices and the heads of federal agencies.
Congress: While fewer congressional seats in California are being voted on this year, depending on where you live you may have the chance to vote for a person to represent you in the House in Washington D.C. Members of Congress vote on national issues. Research candidates running in your Congressional District and vote for the one you believe will support the issues that you care about
State Elections: Some of you may have the opportunity to elect people to represent you in the state Legislature in Sacramento.
Local races: Some of you may also be voting for Mayor, City Council members, County Supervisors and school boards. These officials can impact your daily life because they handle issues like public safety, community businesses, public utilities, education and public spaces like parks and libraries.
Ballot Measures: Ballot measures are state or local laws or issues that are up for the voters to decide. Check out what’s on the statewide California ballot here!
3. Can’t vote this time around? You can still help get out the vote!
- Pre-Register! When you turn 16 in California, you can pre-register to vote -- that means when you turn 18, you’ll be all set to go. Do your 18-year-old self a favor and pre-register. Then you can cross that item off your future to-dos.
- Psst: There’s currently a ballot measure in California that’s looking to expand voting rights to 17 year olds who will be 18 by the general election to be able to vote in primary elections. Stay tuned!
- Talk to your friends and family! If there is a topic you feel very passionately about, talk to your friends and family – and share on social media! You may not be able to vote but they can. Let them know how you feel.
- Volunteer at a polling site! This is a great way to get involved in the voting process--- and high school students are eligible! As long as you feel safe given the conditions of the pandemic, you can contact your local county office, or even go online, and sign up to be a volunteer.
- Volunteer for a campaign or candidate! If there is a candidate or campaign you feel strongly about – support them! Whether its phone banking, letter writing, or sharing on social media, there’s lots of ways to get the word out. Check the websites of candidates and campaigns that align with your values for opportunities to help.
REMEMBER: Your voice is important! When you vote, you’re using your voice for change. Let’s show the world we’re ready for our futures now. Are you registered + ready to vote?