The time has come for the most important election of our lives. Many of us have been waiting for these Midterms mainly so that we could pick up seats in the House and Senate, but also to send the Republicans a message, that they cannot continue to lie, use racist rhetoric, and be corrupt and get away with it. But this election is also incredibly overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel lost in the multitude of ways to get involved. To try to sort through the mess, here are some things that you can do, that may have a small effect in the final days, hours, and minutes before the election is over.
Talk to your relatives:
It is quite easy to forget those who are closest to us when it comes to voting. This may stem from the fact that politics are a discussion topic often avoided in family gatherings. Everyone has a different opinion, and talking about politics usually leads to more division than common ground. However, you may find that one-on-one discussions with relatives are a great way to help them understand your opinion and actually find a compromise. A conversation can also be an opportunity to let a relative know how important it is to vote, and why they should consider voting for Democrats, even if they never have before. Change starts at the individual level, and sometimes, all it takes is a little push from a loved one.
Send individual messages:
Simply posting a selfie of you wearing your “I Voted” sticker isn’t going to do anything to convince your friends and acquaintances to take the time to vote. An individual message, on the other hand, can actually make a difference for someone who may not think that it is important or that they don’t need to make the effort. For those who are on the edge, one snap or one text can actually make the difference. To remind someone that their opinion matters can make them feel validated in voting. There are so many close elections this year, so for people living in swing districts, it’s crucial to let them know that their vote really counts.
Positive social media:
We all love to post angry tweets, but shouting into our personal echo chambers rarely makes a difference. Social media posts can send important messages to wide audiences, but they have to be carefully written to be effective. Consider uploading photos and videos of yourself taking part in canvasses and other Get Out the Vote activities, to try to inspire others to participate however they can. Additionally, try posting about why you are going to vote, and remind people that the issues that they care about are on the ballot this year. But above all, be positive. Focusing too much on how terrible everything is will not motivate anyone to get up and take the time away to vote.
Help people out with research:
Many people want to vote, but are stressed out by all of the issues and candidates on the ballot, most of which they haven’t heard of. Something that I have personally found that can help motivate people to vote is to offer to do research for them about their ballot. This kind of research isn’t hard – it takes about one Google search to find out about most ballot questions – but it can go a long way. And if you’re willing to take time out of your day to help someone vote, it only makes sense that they’ll return the favor and decide to vote.
In a close election, doing small things can make a big difference. In the end, voting is every single person’s duty and responsibility, but those of us who are politically engaged must make sure that people fulfill their obligations. Otherwise, progressive change cannot occur.
This post reflects the opinions of the author and is not necessarily representative of those of Penn Democrats.