Election Day 2020 is nearly upon us. The political ads are on TV and the internet. The debates are underway. The phone calls and texts are going strong. It will soon be time for all of us to make our final selection on the candidates and the issues. It has been a time of stress and argument, of social unrest and national division. But now is our time to make a choice.
Are we ready?
It is vital that all of us fulfill our civic duty in casting our vote. However, before we face that ballot, there are some crucial questions we must answer for ourselves to ensure we are voting to the best of our ability and with the better angels of our conscience.
While it’s not possible to make the perfect choice in every situation, we can do the best we can.
Consider these 5 questions before you hit the polls:
What issues are most important for me that should be reflected in how I vote?
When considering the candidates on the ballot and the parties each one represents, reflect on their stance on the issues and make your choices based on those. They may have a lengthy list of concerns they are addressing with the voters. That list may be too long for all of us to personally consider and understand! So, instead of becoming educated on everything, what issues are most important to you? Learn the candidates’ positions on those issues. Avoid getting mired in issues that don’t matter as much to you and which divert your attention from what concerns you the most. Your choice can be based on what you believe is best for your family, your community, your state. What is important to you? Focus on that.
Do I feel sufficiently educated about the issues or the candidates, and if not, what can I do to become better educated before I vote?
Many times, political issues and ballot measures are based on complicated economic concepts that are not commonplace and in the knowledge wheelhouse of every citizen. Therefore, if there is an important issue that concerns you and your family or community, get educated if you’re lacking understanding. Find someone who can explain the issue to you. Do internet research. Visit the public library. Do what it takes to get educated enough that you can make an informed decision that will be best for those you love. You don’t have to feel ill-equipped. Do what it takes to educate yourself.
Am I voting for something or against something?
Sometimes when we vote we are consciously voting FOR someone. We like them, we support the issues they support, and we want them to lead us. Other times, however, we are voting AGAINST someone or something. We don’t support the issues of one candidate and we make a choice to vote for anyone else who will ensure that the candidate we don’t support will not win. In this election, ask yourself that question. Are you voting for something? Or, are you voting against something? This will inform how you make your decision and will also help you make decisions on other candidates or other issues that are vital to the health of your community.
What kind of future do I want for my children? How will I influence the next generation with my vote?
Many of us feel that it is perhaps too late to “fix” society as it exists today. We feel that the ills plaguing us systemically are so deeply sewn into our DNA that no matter what choice we make at the polls, it won’t make a huge difference for today’s generation. If that is the case, then we all have a duty to make decisions today that will prepare a better future for our children. We must keep in mind the next generation even as we are choosing the leaders who will govern our country right now. Who will implement policies that will produce a future that will be safe and productive for those who come after us? Our choices today will create results that will affect our tomorrows. Remember this when facing your ballot this fall.
What will I do in the future to advocate for my cause if my candidate doesn’t win or my preferred ballot measures don’t pass?
Finally, we all know that many times the candidate we vote for doesn’t get elected. The ballot measures we support don’t get passed. The bills we love don’t get signed into law. What will you do to make sure that these things don’t happen in the future? If these things are important to you, take steps to create change in the future. Get active with your preferred political party. Find a candidate and throw your support behind them in the next election. Put up election signs. Donate money. Get educated and educate others. Become an advocate. Do what it takes to change the future. We are not helpless. We have the power to create change.
The election is coming and we hold the power in our hands to shape the future of our country. Let’s together fulfill our duty as citizens of this nation and cast our votes in ways that are meaningful this year and in every year that follows.