Make Your Voice Heard....Vote!
September 8, 2022
I turned 18 just before the 2016 presidential election. I remember feeling excited and simultaneously nervous to embark on the experience of voting. Deciding on a candidate, finding the correct polling place, figuring out how to correctly insert my ballot into the machine… it was all a bit overwhelming. Sure, we talked at length about the civic responsibility of voting in school, but no one seemed to explain the ins and outs of casting a ballot.
In the polarized political environment we are living in, getting involved in politics can seem like a hassle, a burden even. However, getting involved in the electoral process is still one of the most effective ways to make your voice heard.
Whether it is a local, state, or federal election, it is important to remember that the people running for office are just that… people, like you and me. The structure of our political system can sometimes make it feel like our elected officials are on another planet. Nevertheless, it is so important to remember that those issues they are debating affect you too. Which means, you have a say.
If nothing else, my goal by the end of this blog post is to give you the resources you need be able to have that say and feel empowered while you do so. Here are the three things I do to get ready for an election.
First, double check that you are registered to vote. It seems like a simple one, but whether you have voted before or not, it is always a good idea to check your registration status. If you have moved since the last election, you will need to update your registration to reflect your new address. If you live in Iowa, you can check your registration status on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website here.
Once you know you are registered to vote, the next step is to figure out the candidates and the issues on the ballot. One of my favorite resources to do so is CUNA’s Credit Unions Vote website. If you navigate to the “Candidates” tab, you will be able to type in your address and see the candidates in your district.
My last tip, and perhaps the most nerve-wracking, is to talk to the candidates. The best way to make an informed choice on Election Day is understand who the candidates are and what they stand for. From sending an email to going to a campaign event, there are several ways to contact the candidates. And candidates want to get to know you. Not only would you be their constituent, but also, they are hoping to win your vote. Hearing what you care about puts it on their radar to care about it too, so don’t be afraid to share your thoughts with them.
Not sure what to talk about? Your credit union is a great place to start. As an industry, it is critical for us to have supporters in the state and federal legislature to ensure we can continue to do the good work we do. Ask your candidates their stance on credit unions and issues surrounding financial well-being. If they aren’t familiar with your credit union, use it as an opportunity to share more about your work and the people you serve. The more they know about credit unions and members’ financial challenges, the better they can represent you in elected office.
Casting your ballot is one of the most important ways you can make your voice heard this election season. Decide early whether you are going to vote by mail or in-person on Election Day, so you are prepared in advance. I encourage you to take a look at our 2022 Elections Toolkit for more information on the two options to determine what is best for you.
After reading through this blog post, you might be feeling excited, nervous, overwhelmed, and more. Embrace wherever you are right now and know that it is all part of the process. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. This gives you several months to check your registration status, get to know the candidates on the ballot, and ask questions.
I will be here to help you along the way! Feeling excited after talking to a candidate? Have a question on turning in your ballot? Reach out to me! I would love to hear from you - Brittany.Freeman@policyworksllc.com.
As Advocacy Coordinator, Brittany works to strengthen the grassroots advocacy efforts and political action fundraising for Iowa's credit unions.