Get Your Vote On!

Get Your Vote On!

Last week, I went to Penzey’s to get some garlic powder and taco seasoning. This sign was on the door:

What’s more is that they had these stickers all over the store and even put some in my bag.

I love that place. Not just for the culinary possibilities that lie inside, but because of their sense of civic duty. Oh, and because I agree with the political proclivities of the company (which they do not hide).

Most of you know that I’m a solid Democrat, as are (probably) most of my friends. But, I have plenty of Republican friends as well. This message is for ALL of you, left, right, or somewhere in the middle. Whether we agree on the hot button issues or not, we all NEED TO VOTE in this midterm election. Most certainly, if you want change, you must vote and be counted. But, even if you’re happy with the status quo from on high, you should vote to keep things as they are. Don’t believe me? Listen to this guy:

President Obama Doesn’t Have Time For These 7 Excuses Not To Vote (esp #4):

See, the thing is, if we don’t all vote, our system is broken. Many of us believe that the 2016 election was not fair. Not balanced. That there was interference that had an impact on the final result. That not enough people voted. Let’s not have that happen again. Let’s see how things go when we get a real idea of what Americans want.

Along those lines, one thing that gets in the way of fair elections is gerrymandering. Frankly, I don’t know how politicians get away with that all the time. I think it’s a load of crap. I don’t totally understand it, but I know it’s bullshit.

My friend, Mary Schumann (who teaches this very topic at the college level), suggests listening to the podcast, Pod Save America. She told me:

They have one on the midterms that talks about why this one in particular is SUPER important. This is a census year, and the governors will have a lot of power over drawing the new congressional districts. The Republicans have effectively gerrymandered themselves into power despite representing a minority of voters thanks to this very thing in 2010.

You can listen to the podcast here:

I, for one, want change, but like I said above, even if you like the current balance of power, you should vote to have your say, because it’s the local elections that truly have an impact.

Mary went on to say:

Midterm voting is playing the long game. It’s not “exciting” like a Presidential race but the consequences are HUGE.

Every 2 years EVERY SINGLE congressperson is up for reelection in the House! EVERY SINGLE ONE!

If you are a fan of checks and balances in the government, it appears that divided government may be the only way to achieve that in an era of intense partisanship. The Republicans have given Trump free reign to do as he pleases and have abdicated their oversight responsibility entirely. Now is a time to vote for a fresh Congress and unseat old comfortable reps that no longer represent their districts.

On that theme – this particular off-year election is WAY more important than others because it is taking place in a census year. The census is used to determine which states gain or lose Congressional seats. When a seat is gained or lost new congressional boundaries get drawn. The GOVERNOR and the STATE LEGISLATORS decide these boundaries!Right now the Republicans have a majority in Congress even though they represent an actual minority of voters – thank you 2010 Tea Party election and subsequently very partisan gerrymandered districts that ensure a Republican majority. Republicans got to choose their voters rather than voters choosing their representatives! And they have for 10 years now!

[There are] many other points [to be made] but a couple of very important races are:

  • Secretary of State – they administer elections …we can see what is happening in GA right now with voter suppression, and in Ohio with the same, and see that this is a way to “rig” an election.
  • State Attorney General – they are under the radar but have ENORMOUS power in deciding how laws are enforced.
  • Very locally – your State’s Attorney office for the same reasons. These guys impact your every day lives.
To me the most important races are the local ones for long term impact (districting) and House seats to keep [or change the balance of power].

But I encourage people to go to or stream candidate forums – I’m going to the county state’s attorney forum here [Minneapolis] tomorrow and went to the school board forum. These are VERY enlightening! If you have a league of women voters branch for your county, they often sponsor this stuff or will at least let you know they are happening via FB. Judicial races you can look at local Bar Association ratings – they at least tell you if their peers find them qualified or not. Look up your ballot on the Secretary of State’s web site so that you won’t be surprised when you walk into the booth.You can fill it out in advance as you figure out who to vote for and take it in with you.

Yes – you can decide before you even go to your polling place EXACTLY how you’ll vote on every ballot item. What’s more, in most states you can vote early. Why not just vote on election day? There are a few reasons. My friend, Jason Bussell, post this list on Facebook. Yes, the first two are left leaning, but whichever way you vote, they can still have an impact on you on election day.

What’s more, in 33 states, you do not have to wait until election day. My friend, Jason posted the following on Facebook, and he’s not wrong:

3 reasons to vote early:
  1. Republicans have closed polling stations and understaffed/under-equipped polling places in Democratic districts, resultingin huge wait times. There’s never a line or wait at early voting.
  2. Some districts have had operatives (paid or of their own volition)intimidate voters of color. They only do this on election day, they can’t staff the voting stations every day.
  3. 3. Anything could happen on election day that prevents you from casting your vote. A car accident, sick child,work emergency, etc could arise and keep you from the polls.
Vote early if you can.

Finally, I have to share how personal this election cycle has come to feel for me. Not only as a woman in the #metoo era, or a person with pre-existing medical conditions, or as someone who fears poorly regulated gun ownership thanks to Laurie Dann in 1988, but as a Jew. Yesterday, this became so very personal as Robert Gregory Bowers killed eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday during worship services in what is being called the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

Rabbi Julie Adler of Congregation Am Echod wrote, “May we yet see the end of hatred, bigotry, and violence in our midst and throughout the world.” I strongly believe that this will only be achieved by choosing strong leaders who will work to unite, not divide us.

My friend Laura Adelman-Cannon posted this on Facebook:

Connect the dots. 

Dot 1: Last week, Rep. Gaetz (01 FL) tweeted out a video that he claimeddepicted a man paying cash to people in Honduras to join a “caravan”of migrants headed for the U.S. He further suggested that the people were beingpaid by Mr. Soros to do so, and that the people in the video were coming to”storm” America at election time. 

Dot 2: President Trump amplified Gaetz’s claims in a tweet of his own a daylater. 

Dot 3: A man goes to a synagogue and kills 11 people after citing this very idea.

What can you do? In this election you can vote out hate mongers who incite violence. [If you are in west Florida], you can vote for Jennifer M. Zimmerman…. Words do matter. Do NOT keep someone in office who effectively lit a match and handed it to a would be arsonist.

What can you do? In this election you can vote out hate mongers who incite violence. [If you are in west Florida], you can vote for Jennifer M. Zimmerman…. Words do matter. Do NOT keep someone in office who effectively lit a match and handed it to a would be arsonist.

Now, some may say she’s reaching; that the events are not related and it’s just the media slant giving attention where it doesn’t belong. Well, even if that were true, ask yourself why. Why is the media focusing on so much hate? I, for one, think it’s because there are enough hateful, bigoted people in current political power drawing the spotlight. It seems that in two short years, this country has traveled millions of miles backwards in our journey towards peace and understanding of one another. Frankly, it makes me ill. And that’s why on Thursday of last week, I voted early to have my say. It took only a few minutes, and I felt such satisfaction as I slid my ballot into the box and watched the screen tell me my vote has been counted.

Now, it’s your turn.

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