Early voting and mail-in voting has started in many states ahead of Election Day. You can show up for your community this important midterm cycle as an informed voter by encouraging friends and family members to get to the polls, supporting equity leaders and initiatives, and defending the right to vote.
Learn the quick ways to lead in your community this election day – most take just a few moments.
1. Vote – it’s one of the most valuable actions you can take in a democracy.
Voting is a vital piece of the democratic process. Exercising your right to vote each election cycle demonstrates your commitment to democracy in our country and is a profound way to model that commitment to your neighbors and community.
Voting allows you to support the candidates and ballot measures that most align with your beliefs and your hopes for the future in our country – and not exercising this right can have real consequences.
When you select candidates, you’re making important decisions about the future of voting rights, health care reform, tax breaks, women’s medical rights, LGBTQ+ rights, gun ownership laws, and so much more. There is so much at stake in our country right now – taking the time to indicate who you want to represent you and your neighbors is worth any inconvenience of commuting to your polling location, re-registering when you move, or waiting in line.
Don’t think your one vote makes a difference? Data shows that’s not a fair assessment of your voting power! Especially in local and municipal elections, every single vote can make a difference. In 2018, NPR gave a run-down of closely contested elections - including major state races that came down to just a few dozen votes. On the list is the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, where Democrat Al Franken beat out Republican Norm Coleman by just 312 votes out of almost 2.9 million votes cast. This led to the Democrats having a supermajority in Senate and led to many impactful decisions in our country
2. Tell someone you know to go vote.
Sharing the value of voting with friends, family members, and neighbors is an important part of being a civically-engaged citizen. As LEE members, it’s our responsibility to encourage those around us to vote and be a champion of this democratic process.
Know someone not yet registered to vote?
If you have a friend or family member who is unregistered, show your support and encouragement! More than 20% of eligible voters in our country are currently unregistered, so they’re certainly not alone.
In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 60% of the non-registered voters say they’ve never even been asked to register – making it easy to forget or ignore election cycles. Simply asking your friends and family members if they’ve remembered to register is helping in engaging them in the process and showing them that you care about their voting rights. Encourage others to check their voter registration information.
Don’t let your friends and family members off easily if they’re still not registered! More than 20 states and D.C. offer same-day registration, meaning you can show up to polls to vote even if you haven’t previously registered. If same-day registration isn’t a possibility, encourage them to register anyways, so they’re prepared for the next election day.
Encourage participation using your social channels.
Share your plan to vote with friends and family members on your social channels. This quick gesture can help motivate others to make plans to get to the polls too!
Here are a few sentence starters to help you spread your message.
- The 2022 election is _____ days away. Check your voter registration information here: https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/
- I care about voting because ______________. Do you have what you need to vote?
- Election Day is November 8. Want to head to the polls together? Let me know!
- (On Election Day) I'm voting today because __________.
3. Scan your local sample ballot to evaluate candidates & issues in your community.
You can head into election day informed and prepared to complete every section of your ballot. Whether or not you’re able to receive your ballot ahead of time through early voting, there are ways to preview the ballots online and research your options.
Our partners at BallotReady have made it easy to evaluate the candidates and issues on your local ballot. Using their online tool, you can get pros and cons on candidates, ballot initiatives, and helpful guidance to make the right decision for your ballot this election.
Spread the word to friends, neighbors, and colleagues about what you find out and recommend they do the same prework. Go into election day prepared to support the people and propositions that align with your values.
4. Support candidates and ballot measures that promote equity and access.
One of the ways to build a stronger, brighter future is to have strong equity-minded leaders elected, up and down ballots. This includes local seats, like school boards, city and county boards, judicial seats, and state legislatures. These offices often hold significant power in communities and can often make life-changing decisions for young students and families in a district.
In addition to researching the issues at stake on your ballot and determining how you’ll vote, publicly supporting initiatives that center on equity and access is an important way to step up in your community. Whether that means putting up yard signs for issues you care about, sharing with neighbors how you plan to vote, posting support on social media, or helping campaign for candidates and causes, you can serve as an advocate for equity and access this election cycle.
At LEE, we’re especially excited for the 112 LEE members on the ballot this election year, fighting for equity in their communities. Whether or not these leaders are on your ballot, you can join us in celebrating their brave commitment to their communities.
5. Serve as a poll worker, election day volunteer, nonpartisan citizen observer, or poll watcher.
If you’re able to dedicate your Tuesday, November 8 to support voting access and voter rights, many communities allow you to serve as an election day worker, greeter, interpreter, poll watcher, and more. Rules vary by state and community – be sure to fully understand what’s allowed and what’s required before making any plans. But serving on election day can help ensure a smooth process for voters and contribute to ensuring a free and fair election day.
Poll watching has gained popularity in recent years, especially with contested elections and concerns about unlawful voter influencing. Poll volunteers can be influential when it comes to tricky voting situations.
As a LEE member who values equity and fairness, serving your community as a volunteer might be a great opportunity for you. If you’re interested, www.HelpAmericaVote.gov contains helpful information on being a poll worker in your community.
Ready to grow your own leadership? Get personalized guidance with LEE.
Leadership for Educational Equity staff is devoted to support you as you grow and implement your own vision for equity. No question is too large or too small. You can always reach out to your LEE contact to get started.