Election day is a little less than a month away. There’s a lot of you that are not excited for this November’s election. I’ve heard talk about being between “a rock and a hard place” or choosing “the lesser of two evils.” I respect your exhaustion in this race. I know a lot of people are frustrated that, though there will be nine choices for president on the ballot, only two seem to be on everyone’s lips – Trump and Clinton. The vote on November 8th is about so much more than the presidency. If you don’t want to vote for the next President, you don’t have to. Let’s talk about some of the other things on the ballot.
All 435 seats of the United States House of Representatives are up for election. Republicans currently hold their largest majority in the U.S. House since 1928. In order to flip control of the chamber, the Democratic Party would need to pick up 30 seats, a difficult task.
So why should you care that all 435 house seats are up for election? Members of Congress are responsible for representing the people of their District in the United States Congress. That’s you. Part of their responsibility is to introduce bills and resolutions. Representatives decide whether to vote for or against every bill that comes before the full House of Representatives. All bills must pass boththe House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate before they can go to the President to be signed into law. You have the power to elect someone who has the same ideals and principles as you.
Here’s just some of the bills that were passed in Minnesota from 2015-2016: changing hire a veteran month from May to July, raising the maximum you can win at bingo to $500, extending unemployment insurance benefits, introducing screening for co-occurring mental health and chemical dependency disorders, Military Spouses and Families Day established, and the sentence was increased for interference with a body or scene of death crime. That’s only 6 of the 243 enacted bills so far in this session of Congress.
If you’d like to see who will be on your ballot, you can view a sample ballot by simply Google searching “sample ballot 2016” or go to Minnesota’s Secretary of State’s website here – http://myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/. Enter your street address and you will see all your choices for President/Vice President, Congress, Minnesota State Senate and House of Representatives in your district, plus the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and any Judges up for re-election. There is a Constitutional Amendment on the Minnesota ballot as well – to authorize a council to establish salaries for legislators.
Nationally, more than 92 million Americans who were eligible to vote four years ago didn’t cast ballots. A USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll conducted in 2012 shows 59% of people aged 18-29 didn’t vote. Whether or not you choose to vote, the government is going to change immensely next month. Don’t you want to have a say in who’s speaking for you?
You can check to see if you’re registered to vote here.
You can register to vote online or by mail until 10/18, next Tuesday, here.
You can register on Election Day, Nov 8th at your voting location. You will need to bring a current photo id with a proof of residence. If you’re a student living on campus, a current student ID is sufficient. To see all acceptable forms of ID, check here.
Find your polling location here.
Also, if you’re already a registered voter, you don’t have to go to the polls at all. In Minnesota, any registered voter can request an absentee ballot! You can download the form here. Just make sure the ballot is in the mail to be received by 8pm November 8th.
Whether or not you cast your vote for the next President, we hope to see you at the polls November 8th.