So, you are a good Oregon voter, and your ballot has already been turned in. So far this May in Oregon, you are part of a proud but small group. In Washington County, only 14.1% of residents have voted as of May 14. What!? “But this election is so important,” you say. Well, you may be passionate about politics, but many of your fellow Oregonians are too busy, don’t know who the local candidates are, or aren’t sure if their vote will make a difference.
Here are some tips for how you can make a difference at the ballot box by encouraging your friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances to exercise their civic duty and vote!
Offer to help drop off a ballot:
Not everyone has the time or the ability to easily get to a drop box, so offer to take your friend’s ballot to one of their county drop off sites. One local activist I know goes so far as to deliver anyone’s ballot on his bicycle by request.
Make the connection:
If your friends/family are feeling “meh” about the election, connect the dots between voting and an everyday issue they care about, especially if it’s one that hits the pocketbook. The water board members will affect water prices and quality. The County Commissioners control a multi-million dollar county budget, and can greatly influence traffic, transportation, and affordable housing in the County. Illuminate how local candidates might not have the same name recognition as national politicians, but they certainly do have a direct effect on our lives.
Help answer questions:
If you are a political junkie who has been obsessively following candidates and issues, you will be a valuable font of knowledge for those who have not yet made up their minds about who they are voting for. If there’s a specific policy question you do not have an answer to, offer to do research about it and get back to the questioner.
Share, share, share! Posts about local election issues. “I Voted” graphics. A picture of you dropping off your ballot. Whatever you can do to nudge your friends list to do their civic duty. Remember, if it doesn’t exist on social media, it doesn’t exist, so turn the election into a trending event!
Call or text people to remind them to vote:
You can do so as part of an organized phone bank, or call your contact list on your own. If it takes hassling people a little to make democracy work, it’s worth it!
Make voting fun:
Host an election night party. Give prizes to friends who vote. Spread the word with lawn signs and buttons. Bake a Blue Wave cake. Be creative!
In the Trump era, our vote is more important than ever. So get out there and get out the vote!