This summer, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an easy challenge to Washington state students – register to vote, then fill out and turn in your ballot. The schools with the highest voter registration and voter turnout will be invited to Olympia and recognized by the Governor and the Secretary of State, Kim Wyman. If you still need to register, you have until the 29th to do so in-person at your local election office https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/auditors/. While it would be inspiring to see the collective Seattle Colleges student body population of just about 20,000 recognized for an accomplishment like this, it would be even more inspiring to see first-time voters out there making a difference and affecting change.
–As a student, there are several ways to get involved. First and foremost, you need to get informed!
Young voters may be getting tired of the message that the upcoming midterm elections are the most important in recent history. But it’s true! There are 435 seats in the House, 35 seats in the Senate and 39 states and territories with governorships all up for contention this coming November 6th. There are also city, county and state ballot measures that are in play. The polls indicate that many of these elections are still too close to call. This means that now, more than ever, your vote counts. There is no electoral college deciding these votes. These midterms will be won or lost by one thing, and that’s voter turnout.
As a student, there are several ways to get involved. First and foremost, you need to get informed! If you haven’t been following the news, there are some easy things you can do to find out what and who you want to vote for this election cycle.
- The Stranger publishes their voter recommendations and endorsements for every election. This is a great place for students to start. https://www.thestranger.com/features/2018/10/10/33619203/the-strangers-endorsements-for-the-november-6-2018-general-election
- For a different list of endorsements, check out The Seattle Times. https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/seattle-times-editorial-board-endorsements-for-nov-6-general-election/
- Read your voter pamphlet. It comes in the mail or you can access it online. It’s free. It has all of the basic info you’ll need. https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/research/2018-voters-pamphlet.aspx
- Still stuck or feeling uninformed? There’s this great website you can use to look up candidates, ballot measures and much, much more. www.google.com. Yeah, that’s right, no excuses. The information is out there so you can make informed decisions.
Ok, so you’ve filled out your ballot, now what? Talk to your friends and family and make sure they’re voting, too. You could even offer to drop off their ballots. At Seattle Central, we have our very own Ballot Drop Box ON CAMPUS (right outside the north entrance of the BE building). This election, voting is even more accessible with postage paid envelopes thanks to a previously approved ballot measure. Drop your ballot in the mail and you’re done. However, don’t stick your ballot in your backpack without setting a reminder and an alarm on your phone. You don’t want to be cleaning out your bag during winter break and find your roommate’s ballot sitting in there uncounted. That’s more bad luck than breaking a mirror.
If you’re thinking that casting your vote is enough, think again. Every vote counts, so get involved encouraging others to vote by volunteering. You get the opportunity to do your civic duty and you have a better chance at standing out on your transfer applications. You know those questions they ask you about community involvement? This is what they’re talking about! There are several opportunities in the coming weeks to get out the vote. You can participate in phone banking and canvassing where you contact voters directly, which is one of the most effective ways to get someone to exercise their right to vote.
–Volunteers have been showing up in record numbers to donate their time to make sure that everyone remembers to vote.
Volunteers have been showing up in record numbers to donate their time to make sure that everyone remembers to vote by filling out and submitting their ballot no later than November 6th. If you’re interested in assisting with some local candidate campaigns or initiatives, here are some resources to get you started. You can register as a volunteer for one of the many events being hosted in the days ahead.