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Executive Director’s Letter November 6, 2018

The midterm elections are TODAY, and all of us at GBCA are excited to vote for the candidates we believe in. No matter what policies and positions you support, or what side of the political spectrum you fall on, there’s one thing we can all agree upon: casting your vote really does matter!

But let’s back up for a second, and break all of this down. What are the midterm elections, you might ask? Well, they are the general elections that fall in the middle of a president’s four-year term in office. In these midterm elections, the people can elect new (or re-elect existing) representatives on the federal and local level. This year, 36 out of 50 Governors, all 435 House seats and 35 Senate seats are up for grabs. So, without further ado, here are 10 reasons why voting in this midterm election (and in every election after that!) matters so much.

  1. Every vote really does count! Whether you believe it or not, your one vote actually does count. You would be shocked by how many federal, state, and local elections have been determined by a handful of votes. Don’t believe us? Check this out.
  2. Voting is a privilege. It’s important to recognize that the right for each and every American to vote has not always been a given. Women weren’t granted the right to vote until the 1920, thanks to the efforts of the suffragettes who fought long and hard for a woman’s right to vote.
  3. Actions speak louder than words. If you’ve ever talked (or posted on Facebook, Instagram, etc.) about how you feel about the current political climate, complained about current policies that you don’t agree with, or felt strongly about a political position, now is the time to put those words into action! Tweeting about what changes you want to see on a local and federal level won’t necessarily do anything, but casting a vote will.
  4. Checks and balances. Our government is divided into three branches; legislative, executive and judicial. The reason for this is so that no one branch would become too powerful. This midterm election is the time for all of us to elect officials in the legislative branch who will prioritize this notion, and act as true checks and balances on the other branches.
  5. We can elect more women! Over 50% of the US is female, but only 22% of Congress is. We can change that today. There are record numbers of women running for seats up and down the ballot, and each of us has the chance to help them win by casting a vote.
  6. Local politics affect your day-to-day life. Whether you know it or not, these midterm elections will have real consequences to your daily life. The local leaders that we elect determine how safe our neighborhoods are, how accessible public transportation is, the quality of the schools in your neighborhood, how much our rent costs, and so much more. So research the candidates who are running for office in your district and make a plan to vote for the ones whose positions and policies align with yours!
  7. Voter turnout is historically low for midterm elections. Even though midterm elections are extremely important, they usually generate lower voter turnout than presidential elections. Over the past 60 years, only about 40% of people who are eligible to vote actually do in the midterms. Let’s change that this year, and make our voices heard!
  8. It inspires others around you to vote. This is the only instance that we encourage a little bit of peer pressure :) But seriously, when you vote, it encourages the people in your social circle to do the same.
  9. Help millennials make history. For the first time, millennials are poised to make up the largest group of voters in this election. Don’t you want to be a part of that?
  10. Do it for democracy. The bottom line is, our democracy works best when all of us participate and makes our voices heard. And that’s something, that no matter what our beliefs are, we can all agree upon.

If you need help finding your polling location, here is the lookup tool for Maryland!

If you need help thinking through your choices, here is the nonpartisan League of Women Voters Vote 411 tool!

If you need a ride to a polling location Uber, Lyft, most major bike programs, and other services around the country are giving away free or heavily discounted rides to voters on Election Day.

Now let's go out and make our voices heard, Baltimore!

-Jeannie Howe

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