Vote! Vote! Vote! (Are you ready for the midterm elections?)

Want to make an impact? Vote!

November 6th is just around the corner… 28 days to be exact.

435 U.S. House seats and 33 U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs (Senators serve six-year terms, which are staggered, so only 33 states have Senate races this fall). Voter turnout was terrible for the 2014 midterm elections (37% of eligible voters), and we can’t afford to let that happen again!

The New York Times just published a comprehensive guide to the midterms, if you have any further questions about what’s at stake (so much!) and how to vote (the only way to make your voice count).

The first start is ensuring that you’re registered and that you know where to go to fill out your ballot.

(Or by when to mail in your ballot.) Make sure that everyone you know has this covered, too! Visit Vote.Gov to register and USA.Gov for any help with how to vote.

Some registration deadlines were as early as yesterday. (Alaska and Rhode Island, FYI; Montana, for in person registration)

You can search for the deadlines in your state here. Take note and share them with any friends in those places! There are often multiple dates per state for in-person, by-mail, and online registration.

Today, there are some deadlines in Mississippi and Washington. Tomorrow, there are deadlines in 18 states! Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. It’s time to get on it!

Here, in California, the deadline to register in person, online, or by mail is Oct. 22. Residents who miss the deadline can still register at an election office and vote with a provisional ballot. The vote will be counted when the registration is verified.

You may be entitled to time off to vote on November 6th!

While we may not have a national holiday or weekend polls for voting, as in some countries, the majority of US states do have time-off-to-vote laws, also referred to as voter-leave laws, and have different requirements and exceptions for employers and employees. You can check the law in your state regarding whether your employer is required to give you time off to vote, whether it is to be paid or unpaid, and about any exceptions. And even if your state does not give you time off, your employer may. If you are an employer, I hope you will support your employees in doing their civic duty!

It is your right and your responsibility to vote.

Unfortunately, state by state, there are measures being taken to make it more difficult for young people, minorities, and disenfranchised citizens to do so. It’s not a new fight, and you can read more about anti-democratic voter-suppression laws and the fight against them during civil rights movement, here.

Get out the vote! 

Ask friends and family if they’re registered. Volunteer to protect voting rights or at—check out their week of action toolkit link there for more ideas of what you can do at your comfort level. And then vote!

P.S. Why so many Americans don’t vote. Only 54% of eligible voters in Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal audience were registered—so they developed a game app. And these are the folks who hope young folks don’t vote [wink]…

[Leading artwork, is by Libby VanderPloeg, and is featured in SaveArtSpace x Tumblr’s #whatwillyoudo billboard exhibition in Austin, TX. Prints are available here.]

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