2020 marks the 100 year anniversary of (white) women winning back the right to vote!
To celebrate we’re going to cover how to register, ins and outs of mail-in ballots, and, whether you are or aren’t able to vote in this election, how to gently encourage your friends and family who can.
How to register: Vote.org/absentee-ballot
Or, if you have time on your hands
a. Find your nearest DMV
b. Find someone who’s signing people up (most likely they’ve approached you in a park or farmers market before and will be happy to assist.)
c. Find your fav search engine like DuckDuckgo.com and type in “Register to Vote in ______ ” and add your state, county and/or voting district.
d. go to http://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote
Mail- in Ballots–
your past and present president vote with an absentee ballot. as do your diplomates and many public servants. your military personnel vote by mail-in. Some people, but not all people, vote mail-in. Some people vote in person. Some people don’t vote. Some people aren’t ready to vote. Some people aren’t old enough to vote. Some people were stripped of their right to vote. All of these states of voting are okay and don’t undermine that you are a loved person in this world. How you vote might shift and Where you express your political opinion might shift over your lifetime. Whether you can or can’t vote we are all constituates and our voices are important.
THE 1ST TIME I mail-in voted was while I was studying abroad in Chiang Mai Thailand. I was young and unsure about the process. My parents explained how simple it is and encouraged me to try to vote if I felt comfortable. My parents raised me to understand how important and serious voting is by teaching me about local to national politics and by teaching me how important and serious my voice can be to this world. I, me, myself, and you can influence local and national politics in so many ways, and voting is one of those ways. I’m so glad I voted that year! I realized mail-in voting is so easy that I’ve been voting this way ever since!
What was your first time like, or, was there an election of the past you remember voting in? Share your First Time Voting or Best Time Voting stories in the comments, on your social medias, and/or with your loved ones. If you haven’t voted yet, what about politics interests you most, do your district’s candidates express those same concerns? Contact them and ask. Even if you’re not a voter yet you are still a constituate and your political voice matters. Do you vote in person? Are you in a spot where mail-in ballots aren’t an option? What’s the best part of turning out to vote by going to the polls? Is it like a tailgate party? Does it feel celebratory like a holiday? Lastly, How do you celebrate having voted for the first time or for the 100th time?
Here’s an awesome tutorial from Jiwon Choi on voting in Minnesota. What I’ll add is that Absentee Ballot is the same as a Mail-in Ballot. Also, in Colorado we have ballot boxes specifically for voting so we don’t have to worry about stamps or sending it thru a mail services. Mail delays might be a way Trump is attempting to stiffle our vote which is beyond unpatriotic. Consider, “Across the country, nearly 113,000 veterans now serve as postal workers. With former military members accounting for over 18 percent of our workforce, the Postal Service employs vets at three times their share of the national workforce.” (Combs, Inequality.org).
Encouraging friends and family
COVID-19 is not only putting a dent in our physical healths but our mental and spiritual health as well. Many people are feeling depressed, anxious, unsettled and other states of being that can have us unsure about how important, loved, and capable of getting thru this we are. Reminding people that their voice is important and matters greatly is a gift in itself. When someone encourages me to get political by getting political I remember that we are here and our voices are important today and to the future. Let’s celebrate the whole process and create your own fun around the ritual of voting.
Voting, like sex or masturbation, becomes less intimidating as we learn to communicate with ourselves and our partner(s). Hearing and asking each other about why we vote, or have sex, and what matters to us in politics, or other intimate topics, is an important part of social discourse because as many of us believe ‘justice starts in the bedroom but doesn’t stop there’ meaning what we believe is personal and social. (Ellison/De La Torre)
Privacy is an issue with mail-in ballots. Like a good date going well, establish a sense of privacy and intimacy with your right to vote. Designate a private space in your home to encourage every voter’s right to make choices on their own. If you’re “too young to vote…or date” respect the privacy of your family/friends but don’t feel discouraged from asking questions if you have them. The more you know the more prepared and ready you’ll be to make the decision of whether to vote or not for yourself.
Like a daunting dating app, sometimes I look at my ballot and think “I don’t know any of these people and I don’t have the time to do a background check on each person. How do I make an informed choice?” I’m not a perfect voter. Admittedly I’ve even voted based on first impressions from their website. Unlike a dating app, Candidates are trying to make it easy to know who they are and how they attempt to represent you. Feel free to reach out to your candidates and look for their virtual events and town hall meetings. You don’t have to join a campaign to feel comfortable with your vote. For me, just doing what research I can typically narrows my personal choices down considerably. It’s okay to make the best choice possible given the information we have. It’s okay to make a mistake or have voting regret after a person is in office. There is no perfect candidates, perfect offices or perfect party platforms these are all places and people in progress (plus, there are many ways to remove a candidate from office if they aren’t fulfilling constitutes needs). We are all smart individuals and courageous enough to make the best choice we can.
In past elections, I’ve heard the worry of: “My mail-in ballot won’t even be counted.” Don’t let this concern discourage you or your friends/family. When I vote with a mail-in ballot sometimes I get emails asking to confirm my signature or information, sometimes I don’t. Anyway, if all we can do is try then let’s try, yet in this tech age we can find a way to confirm our vote is counted.
Telling someone who to vote for is not encouraging or helpful, however, sharing why you care about the candidates in your district can help jog imaginations of what important qualities in a candidate matter to us individually, for example, Senator Finkenhauer may not have as much experience being in office yet and still she’s strong on health care, she’s impressive in how her team communicates with her constituents, she’s been passionate about government and has been involved since high school which shows her concentration, longevity and serious dedication to our community. These are qualities I appreciate about her and tho no one is perfect I feel confident in supporting her work. Do I want our district to reelect Abby? Yes! But more importantly to the future of elections beyond Abby’s campaigns, everyone can decide what qualities they value and vote for candidates that practice those values.
When social media platforms become inundated with political talk it can be annoying but also consider that people care and these matters are severely important to our present time and our collective futures. Political conversations, and/or family planning conversations, can be tricky and can get impolite. If you’re like me and politics or family is rarely off the table for conversation than I’ll share my best practices: When I get annoyed, frustrated, or insulted, I redirect conversation towards what values we share rather than what bipartisan lines divide us because I want to experience a political climate founded on common ground rather than competitive mudslinging. I try not to roll in assuming I’m right or that my voice is the only voice since I understand that the best decision for me might not be the best voting choice for another person. I understand and respect that a conversation partner thinks and votes based on their needs/wants. I do dive into the conversation knowing that we all can have and hold our opinions with respect and that we might make mistakes in the process.
In this current conflict over mail-in ballots during a pandemic we can quell our insecurities by reminding each other and ourselves that it’s worth arguing and being in conflict over how to ensure that as citizens of this country we have the right and the access to voting as easily as anyone.
Personally, I love mail-in voting. I’ve been doing it for a decade, it’s so convenient and I’ll probably continue in this way until it changes. I am sorry that voting is being complicated by the health crisis and that voting has been continually complicated and denied to citizens for insane, ethically corrupt reasons. I am sympathetic with those who have been stripped of their right to vote with bogus criminal charges or due to zipcodes, ethnicities, or genders. We shouldn’t need a Suffragette movement or a 13th 15th or a 19th Amendment to actualize all of our voices. The power in each of our voices is inherent. We shouldn’t fear the word Gerrymandering. We shouldn’t have to stand in lines for days or fight corruption in our election processes. Generations have fought for our rights to vote and if we aren’t all able to express them regularly and freely than it’s clear that we are not done fighting. Even if it takes another hundred years and another hundred years after that we will not stop fighting to expand rights to everyone.
I know I didn’t cover any of the international contriversies in the voting process but if there is anything else I’m forgetting let me know in the comments (i think comments are enabled) or visit with me on Instagram @ Anne_Arkhane.
As always thanks for reading and let’s rock this funking vote!
P.S. if you’re going to make the important decision to have sex after you’ve had an awkward conversation about sex during a health pandemic, shared your sexual histories (including possible STI’s) and your mental, physical, spiritual desires please please please wear a funking condom. If your partner doesn’t want (you) to wear a condom but you aren’t ready to have children — opt out of the interaction until they can respect your voice. It may not be the favored option in the heated moment but you will at least wake up without guilt knowing that you respected yourself and the needs/wants of your partner. If you and your partner(s) are consenting and truly ready mentally, physically, and spiritually have fun together!
p.s.s. If you’re alone — and ‘dying’ without sex…i understand yet– masterbation isn’t that bad. Porn, however, can be and can teach you stuff about sex that isn’t healthy for yourself or your future partners butt that’s a topic for post in a distant future
p.s.s.s If you’re like me and have some expired condoms lying around, Own your lack of intimate life and make or donate expired condoms for art projects! http://www.tacomaartmuseum.org/condom-fashion/