All too often, people discount voting in local elections. However, the belief that taking the time to vote is only worth it during the presidential election season couldn’t be further from the truth.
Whether this is the first year you can legally vote or you’re already a seasoned voter, local elections are a chance to make your voice heard. Here are just some of the reasons you should wake up early on election day and head to your nearest polling station!
Local elections often take place every year, and because turnout is lower, your vote can actually make a difference
It’s a statistically proven fact that local elections experience lower voter turnout, partly due to the fact that many voters believe local elections to be of little importance. With such a small pool of voters in these local elections, votes carry extra weight, making your vote that much more vital.
Change starts at the local level
It’s not just those in Washington who have the power to make our world better or worse. Although we’ve been conditioned by the media and popular culture to view the White House as the ultimate authoritative figure, not all decisions that affect us are made by the president. This year, California’s ballot allows you to voice your opinion on which propositions should be approved and which candidates would serve well in statewide offices such as the state Assembly and Senate, as well as local positions on the Berkeley rent board, school board and more. All these measures and candidates can have a huge impact in making our world better — or worse.
Federal policies all start somewhere
Trying to picture today’s laws as scribbles on a piece of paper may be hard to wrap your head around, yet all of them did stem from an idea. Countless movements have catalyzed the creation of landmark federal laws throughout history — such as women’s suffrage, racial discrimination, minimum wage and marriage equality. What did they all have in common? They started out somewhere smaller. This year, California voters have the option to vote on Proposition 1, amending the California Constitution to expressly include an individual’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including the right to have an abortion. Who doesn’t want to be a part of a key origin story? We may not be able to speed up bill debates in Congress, but we do have the power to make progress by voting in our local government elections.
Your voice makes a difference
We all have a voice. Maybe it’s a little quieter than you hoped, or perhaps too loud for even your own ears, but it’s yours to use. It can be intimidating at times to take a stand. But using your right to vote is a way to ensure you’re heard. Form your own opinions based on your values and research so that you can best decide who you’ll entrust to make decisions that reflect what you want to see in our government.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to exercise your civic duty by preparing for this year’s election season. Get to researching all the key decisions on this year’s local ballot so you can confidently walk into the polling station and cast your vote. Happy voting season!