Focus on what the talking heads have to say and you would think there’s nothing more to this election than donkeys and elephants.
Yes, we’re witnessing one of the most contentious presidential elections in history. The outcome will have immediate consequences for a nation struggling to navigate a disastrous public health crisis, an economic recession and racial injustice all at once. But if you didn’t know any better, you would think that Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the only two people equipped to do anything about the problems we’re facing. That simply couldn’t be further from the truth.
During this #VoteLocal Week of Action, experts and activists across the country want to make something clear. The best way to create real, immediate change in our communities is to #GetEducated about who’s calling the shots at a local level. Then vote accordingly.
"Down-ballot" candidates for positions like school board or mayor may not attract the same media attention as those on the top of the ticket, but their influence often has a far more direct impact on our communities than the occupant of the White House does. While Trump and the New York Times spar over whose curriculum is a worse idea, it's your local school board members who actually have some say in what our children are learning. Likewise, while conversations around racial bias and policing practices continue to draw national attention, local government actions may offer the most potential for meaningful reforms.
It’s mayors and county executives that appoint most police chiefs and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with police unions. It’s district attorneys and state’s attorneys that decide whether or not to investigate and ultimately charge those involved in police misconduct.
In other words, if you care about issues like educational equity and community justice, you better get educated on your local candidates.
We know that our communities are fueled by people, not political parties, so the fact that many of these races are nonpartisan might be a nice change of pace after months of negative election press. They are also far more consequential than many of us can imagine. With over 95,000 down-ballot positions up for grabs between now and November 3, voting locally has never been more important.
But how are we supposed to know where our local candidates stand when they receive such little attention in the media?
BallotReady is a great tool for getting to know your local candidates. Simply visit the site, type in your street address, and BallotReady will show you all of the candidates on your ballot this election.
You can explore the backgrounds of each candidate, compare their stances on key issues, and even save your choices on your phone or print them out to take with you to the polls, state permitting. With tools like BallotReady, there’s no excuse for being uninformed about your local candidates. And there’s no excuse for not voting, either.
Whether it’s at the ballot box or your mailbox, now is the time to start making your plan to vote. Find your polling place, #GetEducated about your local races, and be sure your voice is heard this election. Your community is counting on you.