ALPHA GAM VOTES: LOCAL ELECTION EDITION
The following article was written by Elisabeth Lawrence, Epsilon Zeta–Arkansas State University, County Commissioner for Colorado’s Summit County. It also appears in the 2020 Fall issue of the Quarterly.
Political television ads, mailers, phone calls, text messages and social media posts seem to have multiplied this election cycle. While the constant reminders from Facebook and Instagram asking you to check your voter registration and countless emails from candidates requesting donations may seem excessive, consider them a reminder that women have not always had the right to vote. In fact, it was a full 16 years after our 1904 founding until the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. It was another 45 before the Voting Rights Act removed additional barriers that prevented Black and Native American women from voting.
As a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, I challenge you to look at voting in a different way this year and consider our Purpose. After all, when you cast your ballot, you are contributing to the world’s work—regardless of political affiliation.
While the presidential election dominates most news cycles these days, it’s the results of local elections that can have the greatest effect on your day-to-day life and the lives of your family and friends.
The roads you drive, the air you breathe, your access to equitable healthcare and quality education—all of these things are heavily steered by state and local election outcomes. Even a seemingly small issue like a 1-cent increase in sales tax can have a tremendous effect on your local economy or the vibrancy of your community’s culture.
As you cast your ballot this year, I urge you to consider the following:
Take time prior to Election Day to review and research your ballot. Visit ballotpedia.org to find out who and what will be on your ballot. Ballot measures can be especially confusing and often effect local funding, taxes or amendments to your state constitution, so it’s important to learn their intent and explore the possible outcomes.
Verify your voting location. Even if you’ve voted in the same location for 20 years, it may have changed—especially in light of COVID-19. Visit usa.gov/election-day to find your current polling location and other Election Day information.
Don’t let a long line deter you. As polling stations enact enhanced safety measures to limit the further spread of COVID-19, lines will be spaced apart and fewer voting stations may be available. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will take long to vote.
Consider early voting. If you feel unsafe or are unable to vote on Election Day, consider voting early. The process is nearly the same, but you will typically have a few more polling locations to choose from and wait times could be shorter. Dates vary by state, so visit
vote.org/early-voting-calendar to learn more.
Remember, your vote matters. It’s easy to talk yourself out of voting when you feel like your vote doesn’t matter. But it does matter. Women’s voices matter! We have a real opportunity to effect change—and it begins with a single vote. Use your voice and vote no matter what.
This November, I urge you to—not only vote—but to fill out your entire ballot. Seek candidates with a shared vision for your community.
Consider the impact your ballot will have on the community where you are placed. Share your voting plan with another Alpha Gam. And, from one member to another, thank you for doing your part to fulfill our Purpose.