It’s Election Day — Here’s Why Voting is Necessary for Resolving Local Issues

published Nov 8, 2022
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Today is election day, and it is as important as ever to hold elected officials accountable for protecting rights to bodily autonomy, the right to vote, and civil liberties. Local and midterm congressional elections occur halfway through a president’s four-year term and often have a low voter turnout due to the false notion that they’re not as important as the presidential election. Following the primaries, offices for the governor, mayor, city council, district attorney, city commissioner, and school board are among the open choices on your town and state ballots.

As voters, our duty is to turn meaningful conversations about politics with our loved ones into an efficient voting plan at the ballot box. There are many issues at stake during the 2022 midterm elections including access to abortion, racial justice, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, student loan forgiveness, and housing security. Here’s how to get informed — and know what to look out for — before you go to the polls today.

If reproductive rights is your main concern

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in late June to overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s safe to say that reproductive health and access to abortion is an important issue on this year’s ballots. Whether you’re voting to elect officials that will protect reproductive freedoms or remove elected officials that are prohibiting safe access to abortion, Christina Reynolds, who serves as the Vice President of Communications at EMILY’s List, noted that gender-based issues like the pay gap, Black maternal mortality crisis, and reproductive freedoms will sway many voters this election cycle.

“The reason that we are so proud to support Democratic pro-choice women is because these are women who believe that we should have the freedom to make our own decisions that we should have the freedom for,” Reynolds told Apartment Therapy. “Whether or when we want to start a family and what that family looks like, where and how we want to live, and who we want to be, we think it’s pretty simple that that should be up to you and not the government.”

Notable for their work as the largest national resource for women in politics, EMILY’s List noted that their mission is to elect leaders who ignite change. As the organization has grown over the span of 37 years, they’ve celebrated significant wins for Democratic women like Vice President Kamala Harris and have helped to elect 1,500 women to occupy seats on the national, state, and local levels. If these issues are important to you in this election, browse EMILY’s List’s directory of federal, state, and local candidates they support.

If housing access is your main concern

Cheryl Contee, the chief executive officer at The Impact Seat Foundation, emphasized the long-term impact of women holding powerful positions in office. Her company seeks to create a world for women of color to become successful business leaders, and they fund that mission through full stack philanthropy, which is impact investing, grant making, and advocacy.

“There are a number of ballot initiatives out there that impact local people, and I think people often think, ‘Oh, the midterm shrug, what does it really matter,’” Contee told Apartment Therapy. “But in fact — particularly in your local region — very important matters are up for voters, selection and choice right now. That includes a lot of things around housing; right now, abortion is actually on the ballot; abortion rights, either restricting them or confirming them in a number of states. Construction projects are super important. And then you have the secretaries of state right now on local levels [who are] the people whose job it is to secure elections. There are actually election deniers running for office, specifically overseeing elections. I think it’s really important that people look carefully at their local judges, who are also going to weigh in often on that kind of thing.”

For example, the current ballot in Colorado includes the No Eviction Without Representation measure, which is a safety measure to ensure that Denver families will have fair and equal access to legal counsel when met with housing injustice. For low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, this voting measure can ensure that residents are protected from housing inequities. 

Regarding affordable housing, the National Low Income Housing Coalition and National Fair Housing Alliance offer resources for those affected by housing insecurity, redlining, appraisal bias, and housing inequities. 

Why voting is important for solving local issues

Due to the congressional power that is reallocated post-election season, it’s clear that local elections — especially during midterm and the primaries — matter as much as presidential elections. In many ways, 2020 proved that it’s possible for communities to organize and be politically involved, and that energy cannot cease. Whether you’re helping people become registered voters, organizing food pantries within your neighborhood, or supporting a local mutual aid program, it’s always helpful to donate time and energy to assisting disenfranchised and marginalized communities. 

Throughout a ballot, amendments and retaining the members of your current court of appeals will have an impact on your livelihood. Often, the minor issues displayed in your neighborhood and community can be proposed as a ballot initiative if citizens decide to create, amend, or repeal a state law and gather a petition. This can include increasing the minimum wage, allowing the use of recreational marijuana, and protecting data privacy. 

Organizations like the ACLU of Illinois have clearly defined the tasks and responsibilities of elected officials and how they’ll impact our civil liberties, and the Center for Constitutional Rights seeks to protect American citizens from abusive immigration practices and discriminatory policing.