To say that moms have a lot on their plate is an understatement (seeking childcare within an overworked and under-supported workforce). Even as a political strategist myself, my mom duties have dominated recently and pushed upcoming local elections to the back of my mind. But, we know that many of the struggles moms are going through can be alleviated through good policy created by our elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels.
In 2020, it was reported that suburban women would decide the election. But, according to “I am a voter,” the voter turnout rate for the last midterm election was 53%. With critical elections happening in your own neighborhood, it’s more important than ever that we make our voices heard.
That’s why I’ve put together a 4-step guide to voting for even the busiest of moms
1. Check your voter registration
It’s National Voter Registration Week, which is a great time to check your voter registration! In line at drop off? Just filled out your kids’ health screener form on your phone? Take a minute at Vote.org to make sure you’re registered. If you’re not registered, make sure you submit your registration immediately to avoid missing out on your chance to make your voice heard this November! Once you’ve checked your registration status, text your mom group, and make sure they’re registered to vote as well. Your voice alone is powerful, but combined with your close friends, real change can happen.
The I am a voter campaign, which takes place this year on September 20, 2022, is making it easier than ever to check your voter registration. Text VOTER to 26797 to make sure you are registered to vote and to receive all important election information. If you are already registered, text VOTER to 26797 to find out if you are eligible to vote early or to vote by mail and request your mail-in ballot.
2. Find out who’s on the ballot
During presidential elections, it’s pretty easy to keep track of the two main candidates. But local elections can be tricky, with different seats up for grabs and many people vying for the spots. Head to Vote411.org, where you can get a sample ballot to see exactly what you will encounter in the polling place. Vote411 even has debate videos and other localized resources on each candidate Google the candidates. Check for the basics: Do they share similar values as you? Do you agree with their key platform ideas? Pro tip: look for endorsements from organizations you care about or visit their campaign websites and social media platforms to see if they are talking about the issues you are invested in.
3. Vote (early)!
With calendars filled with kids’ activities, actually going to vote can seem like a logistical nightmare. Thankfully, most states have early voting, which can help you avoid the crowds on Election Day and choose a time that fits into your schedule. Find your local polling place and organize a field trip with the kids. (It’s legal!) It’s never too early to show your children the importance of being civically engaged! Plus, they will probably get a cool “I Voted” sticker. If you can’t vote early, make a plan for Election Day. As any mom knows, putting in on the calendar and having a plan of action increases the likelihood that it gets done. Remember that in some states, voting by mail or absentee voting is also an option. So be sure to check your state’s election rules to explore all of the voting options. You can visit Vote.org to learn more about the absentee rules where you are registered to vote.
4. Talk to the candidates
Candidates are in full campaign mode right now, which means talking to people like you are in their top priorities. If the local office is open for visitors, go meet your candidate in person—and take the kids. If they’re closed, you can still pick up the phone and call. Let them know what issues matter most to you. Are you passionate about paid leave? Do you want to see changes in your local school system? Share your personal stories, which are incredibly powerful when engaging 1:1 with local representatives.
It’s an understatement to say that moms have had a tough year, and now is the opportunity to make our voices heard. So make a plan and encourage others to do the same. See you at the polls!
A version of this post was published September 28, 2021. It has been updated.