by Lashon Amado, OYUnited | November 1, 2018
The 2018 midterm election takes place on November 6, 2018 – less than a week away. Our country needs you to SHOW UP! to the polls on that day and have your voice heard. All 435 seats in the federal government’s House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be up for election! In addition, there are state, local, and tribal elections happening. There is a lot at stake! There is a lot of opportunity to elect leaders who truly represent our communities and our issues.
LET US BE SEEN AND HEARD!
One thing is for sure: if young people from low-income communities do NOT show up at the polls, the elected officials will NOT take our issues seriously. LET US BE SEEN AND HEARD! We want to increase opportunity and decrease poverty in America, throughout urban, rural, and tribal communities. We want respect and inclusion for Black, White, Latinx, Native American, Asian, and mixed race people, and for people of all ethnicities, gender identities and religious faiths. We want decent pay, affordable housing, good education, and safety for all.
We have seen the power of the vote in states like Massachusetts, where voters elected four women of color in the primaries to become their parties’ candidates for federal, state, and local offices. One of the candidates, Ayanna Pressley, an African-American candidate for Congress, made history by bringing out four times the number of voters who came out in the last mid-term primary. As a result, she will become the first African American woman Congresswoman from Massachusetts, because she has no opponent on November 6.
There are also 157 ballot measures to be voted on in 34 states. The ballot measures cover a wide-range of important issues like redistricting reform, voting rights, affordable housing, minimum wage, marijuana, health care, and taxes.
Young voters are expected to turn out at record-breaking levels in the midterm elections! Make sure you take part in making history and encourage your family and peers to do the same. We need all hands on deck.
So get ready: Mark your calendars, arrange your rides, work out your work schedules, talk to your friends and family, research your candidates, and find your babysitters. Actually – bring the kids with you! It is important that they witness their parents stand up and use their power.
Here are some resources to help.
Tools to Be an Informed Voter
- BallotReady: If you are unsure of who to vote for or undecided on any of the referendums/ballot measures, our partners at BallotReady offer a digital voter guide and a “make a plan to vote” tool. BallotReady also has background information for every candidate and referendum on your personal ballot, allows you to compare candidates based on their stances on issues, biography, and endorsements and save your choices as you go. All you have to do is visit their website and enter your zip code.
- Use Rock the Vote to Find Your Polling Location: If you are unsure of where to vote, you may visit the website of our partners at Rock the Vote to find your polling location . All you have to do is enter your home address. You can also visit their Know You Rights Tool to learn more about your state’s law on ID requirements, voting rights for returning citizens, pre-registration, and more.
- Use Vote.org to see if you can take advantage of early voting: 37 states, including the District of Columbia, now let citizens vote ahead of Election Day. Early voting makes it easier to vote. You can avoid long lines on Election Day and pick a time that’s more convenient for you. Vote.org will let you know if your state allows early voting (click here to go directly to that feature).
Still wondering if your vote matters? Click here to watch some inspiring videos from some of our members sharing their opinion on the importance of voting.
Our Community Action Teams (CAT) have done diligent nonpartisan voter registration and GOTV work across the country. Here are some photos from our CAT in Greenville, Mississippi, who did canvassing in the community and transported the elderly and disabled to the polls for early voting. In the photos above, you will witness a 97-year-old resident getting registered for the first time! We are making history!
Lashon Amado is the National Coordinator of Community Action Teams with Opportunity Youth United. He is an alum of the YouthBuild program in Brockton, MA and is working on his Masters in Nonprofit Management at Northeastern University (Boston, MA). His passion for social justice stems from his experience as a young man growing up in a low-income community where he faced many challenges himself. Lashon feels obligated to give back and help drive change for disadvantaged populations who face similar obstacles and feel they do not have a platform to have their issues heard.