It’s On Us: Create your voting plan for 2020


GVL Archives

Kayla Sosa

As individuals, it’s our duty to ourselves and to each other to figure out what purpose we bring to the world and our communities. Whether that’s through your profession, volunteer work, social influence or, of course, engaging in the civic process, like voting. 

This week is National Voter Education Week. And that’s important because a prepared voter goes not only to the polls educated, but also when on social media and in conversations with friends and family. 

According to the National Voter Education Week website, there are five steps this week – one for each day of the week (or, just do them as soon as you can.)

Monday: Get #VoteReady!

Register to vote or check your registration status. Go to where you can do both of those things, as well as find your polling location based on your address. 

Tuesday: Get #MailReady!

Request your absentee (mail-in) ballot, if you wish to vote by mail. Be sure to send your ballot back quickly enough to give time for your post office to send it to your clerk’s office. Alternatively, you could mail it in or drop it off to your clerk’s office anytime before or on Nov. 3. 

Wednesday: Get your vote plan ready!

It’s important, especially this election year, to have your voting plan in place. If you plan to vote by mail, set a dated goal to mail in your ballot. If you plan to vote in person, make sure you know exactly where you need to go and plan out enough time on Nov. 3 to go in case you have to wait in line. 

Remember, if you happen to lose your absentee ballot before you can mail it back in, you can always vote in person Nov. 3. You will simply be asked to sign a release of your old ballot. 

Thursday: #BallotReady

Learn what’s on the ballot. This might seem obvious, but many people end up at the polls not knowing who many names on the ballot are, because there are many local officials that we are voting for as well. 

The website is a great resource to see exactly who is on your ballot. By putting your address into the Voter Guide Tool, you can see everything from the Presidential race to the local commissioners and school boards. 

While they may not get as much screen time as national politicians, local elected officials have a lot of influence on our day to day lives within our cities and states. To see more for yourself, start to search the names you see on the ballot online and look into the work they do in your own neighborhood and the values and missions they have. 

Friday: #WeReady2020

Level up your voting engagement. 

Once you’ve done all of the above, you may be feeling motivated to educate others and get involved in your local community. There are many ways to get involved and your personal skill set can be utilized so that you are having fun while making a difference. To find out more ways to get involved, contact the GVSU Community Service Learning Center at [email protected]

Another form of engagement is your intake of media – both news and social. To understand the policies and issues our politicians are working on and leading by, it’s important to pay attention to the news and current events. But remember to diversify your sources, fact check information especially if you’re only reading it on social media and remember to sort between what’s opinion and what’s fact. Leaders on both sides of the political parties will try to spread disinformation and confusing advertisements, but it’s on us to stick to the facts and vote on our values.