Why bother voting?

I mentioned to a friend the other day that I’ll be voting in a new district this year, since I recently moved. I was a bit surprised when he told me he has never voted before. When I inquired as to why, he shared that he doesn’t like getting involved in politics; it’s too contentious. He’s not alone in his thinking, many people do not vote when they should. 

Every local and national election affects your life. It is much more than weighing in about a presidential candidate. By voting, you help impact decisions that affect your job, your healthcare, the economy, your taxes, and the lives of your family and friends. There are often public questions which measure how much support is behind a potential change in the law. In this year’s general election, there are three public questions on the New Jersey ballot.

Voting is easier than ever in 2020, since you are not required to physically go to the polls. Also, keep in mind that you could vote for just one person or question on your ballot and that vote will be counted. However, I recommend committing if you’re already filling out the ballot. Here’s how…

 Voting in 6 easy steps (for people who are not interested in politics):

  1. Learn more about your local community and government.
    There are a lot of ways to do this. Find out if the municipality has an email newsletter you can sign up for, like Princeton does. To integrate local news sources into your daily life, find them online or follow social media accounts. I highly recommend the hilarious and informed @NJGov on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.
  2. Figure out which issues are important to you.
    According to a recent Pew Research study, 79% of voters say the economy will be a very important factor in how they decide who to vote for this year, followed by healthcare, which is very important to 68% of voters. Once you consider what matters most to you, it may be easier to find out who and what you support in this election.
  3. Research the candidates.
    You can check out the ballot ahead of time and find out information about the candidates you are unfamiliar with. We’ve created a Vote 2020 web page which offers one-stop shopping for Princeton and national election information. You could also check out Ballotpedia.
  4. Talk to your support system.
    Taking in all of this information can be overwhelming, especially if you prefer to stay away from politics. Talk to some people you trust to learn about their point of view, and consider if your perspective aligns with theirs
  5. Make sure you are registered.
    To be eligible to vote in the 2020 General Election, you must be registered to vote by October 13. Check to see if you are registered and if you aren’t, you can do it online now.
  6. Treat yourself.
    New Jersey voters will primarily be voting by mail this year, which means you can’t even get a sticker that says you voted. Boring! But, as great as a sticker is for an incentive, you could support a local bakery and get yourself a cookie. That’s my plan, at least.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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