By Caren Holzman
American Expats for Positive Change
EVERY year is the U.S. an election year…2017 is no exception. Yet the big push is the Get Out the Vote for the 2018 elections. It seems as if everyone is fixated on the midterms. Yet, we are missing out on a momentous opportunity—voting in local and state elections—one of the most significant ways to affect positive change.
Elections across states and could change the politics of states, counties, cities and school districts. What positions of power are we voting for? Here’s a taster (depending on locality).
- Municipal Officers
- City Council Seats
- School Districts
- State Senate and House Seats
- Special gubernatorial races
- Special federal Senate and House seats
But why care? What’s controlled locally and/or at the state level? Here is a short list that should get you motivated!
- Voter Registration and Voter ID Laws and Voter Districting
- Women’s reproductive rights
- Sanctuary cities
- Medicare, Medicaid, and essential health benefits
- Gun control and gun licensing laws
- Education policy
- LGBTQ rights
What can you do?
Check immediately to ensure that you haven’t missed a deadline and get registered. For those abroad you need to check whether you are eligible to vote (this will depend on your state and whether you are temporarily or permanently abroad). Consult a tax advisor if you are concerned about state tax implications. Get your ballot, read up, and vote!
Read up on the issues that are being debated in local and state politics. Join a group (There are dozens of overseas groups helping Americans outside the USA politically engage including American Expats for Positive Change, PAGE, ARO, as well as countless groups within the USA such as Indivisible, Action Together Network, etc.) or read a local newspaper.
Talk to friends and family back home about the 2017 elections. Make sure they are registered and voting. Discuss the issues that matter the most to you.
Remember, your voice counts!