We are just days away from the United States presidential election of 2020 – an event that occurs just once every four years and is a critical part of our country’s identity as a democracy. Despite the importance of this vote, historically, only about half of the eligible voters actually participate in the election. In fact, out of 35 countries with voting systems in the world, the United States ranks as 31st in voter turnout.
It’s hard to know why that is, but the good news is that this year, polls predict more people than ever are expected to vote. We want to help make that prediction a reality, because having your voice heard is of the utmost importance.
What You Need to Know Before You Vote This November
Republicans: Donald Trump and Mike Pence
The Republican party has nominated the current president, Donald Trump and the current vice president, Mike Pence. Presidents are allowed to serve two terms in office. If history repeats itself, Donald Trump has a good chance of winning the second term. The last time a president ran for president a second time but did not get re-elected was almost 30 years ago!
Democrats: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
The Democratic candidate for president in 2020 is former Vice President, Joe Biden. Biden has a long history in government, serving as a Delaware Senator for many years. He was the Vice President of the United States of America under former President Barack Obama.
Running alongside Joe Biden for the position of vice president is Kamala Harris. Harris is the first Black woman and first South Asian American ever to make it as an official, final candidate for president or vice president, representing one of the major parties. If the Democrats win, she will also become the first woman in history to hold the vice president title.
This 2020 Election Day, Your Vote Matters
It might seem like one vote doesn’t matter, but that couldn’t be further from the case. For example, former President Bush won back in 2000 by just 537 votes in Florida.
Here is what you can do to prepare for and support the process:
- Read about political issues and do some deep soul searching to figure out where you stand on each matter.
Make your voice heard! Participate in healthy, understanding conversations about policies, learn from other people’s perspectives, share your own, and grow.
Use your influence to encourage others to vote.
Volunteer. Support your candidate, whether that is through participating in phone banks, direct mailing, or other ways of furthering their campaign.
How You Can Vote This Year
If you want to vote, you need to register with your state. You must be a citizen of the United States and at least 18 years old before election day.
How to Register to Vote
First, you need to know if you’re a registered voter and at what address you’re registered. Visit nass.org/can-I-vote/voter-registration-status to check. If you are not currently registered to vote, 22 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted same day registration.
If you do not reside in a state with same day registration, and you aren’t among the registered voters, still take the opportunity to register now so you can participate in all future elections, including state and local ones! Head to vote.gov and select your state from the dropdown menu to see all of your voting registration options.
Finding Your Polling Place
Once you’ve verified that you’re registered to vote or that you can register to vote on election day in your state, type into Google search, “Where to vote”. This will bring you to a unique search bar where you can type in your home address (make sure you’re using the address that showed up in your voter registration in the previous step). Once you hit search, this will show you the voting locations for election day, where to vote early (offered by most states!), as well as drop boxes for mail-in ballots.
Mail In Ballots
This year, due to the current pandemic, almost everyone is eligible to receive an absentee ballot. Each state’s vote by mail rules and deadlines are different, so make sure to pay attention to if the date is for the ballot to be received or simply postmarked. You can turn your ballot in via the postal service (consider expedited shipping with tracking) and via drop boxes (the locations of which will show up in that Google search you completed right before this step).
Voting Safely During COVID-19
The United States presidential election should not be among the victims of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. The Center for Disease Control has worked closely with polling locations and election administrators to change operations, instill new procedures, educate poll workers, and choose facilities to ensure your safety. Additionally, many facilities have extended polling hours or implemented a schedule to their polling to help thin out crowds, and some have even adopted drive-through voting.
Don’t forget to wear your face mask. Farm Stand’s Vote Organic Cotton Face Coverings not only show your patriotism, but they put the money where our mouths are – all proceeds are donated to the League of Women Voters of the United States, a nonpartisan organization that “encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.”
The Importance of Voting as a Woman
It is our duty to honor the generations of women who came before us, fighting for suffrage so that we would have the opportunity to make our voices heard. This general election marks the 100 year anniversary of the 19th amendment – that’s right, we’ve only been allowed to vote for a century. What better way to celebrate it than to make sure all eligible cast their ballots?
Although we are able to vote now, there’s still such an underrepresentation of women in government positions. Although women make up 51% of the nation’s population, they only account for a small fraction of elected officials. Plus, we’ve still yet to have a female president in the history of the United States. And those numbers are even lower for women of color. There’s a lot more work to be done!
Don’t be afraid or intimidated. Every vote counts – really! You have the power of influence. Who you vote for directly impacts your future as a woman.