As probably everyone on this campus knows, the Election is upon us. November 6, 2012, we will have elected a president and members of Congress, voted on various propositions, and decided who will represent us in local and state governments. There is a ton at stake in these elections. The Presidential Election is the most high profile, and the two candidates certainly paint different pictures of America. I think with the presidential election, though, we tend to forget about the rest of it. I am from Maryland, which is a solid blue state. In essence, my vote for president does not matter because of the electoral college.
That doesn’t mean I am not planning on voting. State and local government elections also matter. It’s not just Leslie Knope who thinks so. They matter for everyone who goes to school, who pays taxes, who has their trash collected, who go to community spaces. But they really matter a lot for women. In 2011, states enacted a record 92 provisions restricting abortion. Because of this, over 50% of reproductive-age women live in states that are hostile to abortion. Many states have taken up a crusade against Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that Planned Parenthood primarily provides basic health services for low-income women. In Maryland, one of the ballot initiatives is about the legalization of gay marriage. Even if my vote will not elect the president, it will affect how my state is run. And in California, with its bazillion propositions, your vote definitely matters.
The presidential election is not the only one that matters. Take the time to learn and be informed about your state and local elections, because what happens in your state directly affects you.
The last day to apply to vote by mail in California (absentee ballot) is October 30. The California voter guide is here.