One More Story about the Midterms
Whether you are an experienced voter who has already checked your voter registration and polling location or have recently turned 18 and don’t know where to start. Whether you already voted early in this election or are thinking, I’ll just sit this one out, because you don’t feel excited about the candidates. Whether you are out canvassing in your community or have faced difficulty voting in the past and are experiencing very understandable anxiety around heading to the polls. Whatever your situation, your voice is needed and valued. And there are important ways for you to continue to be engaged in this midterm election.
Historically, about forty percent of eligible voters turn up to vote in midterms. And with young voters in particular (ages 18–25), that turnout rate is even lower, fluctuating around twenty percent. These numbers can be hard to understand when you come to think about how much is at stake. Our basic rights, our identities, our futures are quite literally on the line. Depending on the outcomes in November, some of the major issues being discussed this election season will have a lasting and far-reaching impact on our lives.
Safe and affordable access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, equal rights and protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community, full and accurate historical education, concrete actions towards fighting climate change, and the movement toward a livable wage are just a few of the headlines being debated between candidates. Not to mention the future of our democracy. A lot, I know.
It is important to note that emphasizing the significance of getting out the vote does not take away from the challenges that many face in having our vote and voice heard. In just the past few years, we have seen a wave of attempts to suppress the vote at the state level, and the election in November will be the first time we see how many of these new laws play out.
We may face new barriers getting to the polls this year, but we won’t let this stop us from exercising our sacred right to vote. The UCC and many partnering organizations are here for you with the tools you need to head to the voting booth with confidence and to urge others to do the same. Check out the UCC’s Our Faith Our Vote Campaign for resources leading up to the election, and make sure you save the Election Protection hotline number in your phone (the number varies for the different languages, 866-687-8683 for English) should any problems arise on voting day.
If you have already cast your ballot, encourage others by sharing why you felt it important to do so. No matter your age, reach out to eligible voters you know who may fit into that younger voting bloc and pledge to help them cast their vote! Early voting has started in many states: find out where you can vote early and help alleviate stress at the polls on election day.
In moments such as this, where we feel our rights threatened, it can be easy to feel powerless. The message I want to leave you with is that voting is one way to claim our power. The result of historically low turnout is a small, non-representative group of Americans making important decisions on policy issues that do not reflect our views, but that have broad and lasting impact. We have the power to interrupt this story. The power is in our vote.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Quinn is the Online Communications Specialist for the United Church of Christ.