13 ways to get the most out of voting in the midterm elections.

voting

I have never voted in a midterm election before.    In the past, they never seemed that important.   Of course, I was wrong about that.  They are always important, but never before has a midterm election been more important than the one coming up on November 6th.   In fact, this midterm election is more vital to America’s future than any presidential election in history.   It’s a make or break moment in American history.

I think all of us who oppose Trump’s regime (I refuse to call it a “presidency”) know why this election is so important.   We currently have a situation where both the House and Senate are controlled by the craven, criminal, and corrupt GOP, which now is in lockstep with Trump and no longer even pretends to care about “We, the People.”   And now, with sexual abuser, woman hater, and far right Trump ideologue Brett Kavanaugh about to be confirmed to the Supreme Court (unless a miracle happens, he’s almost certain to be confirmed today), the Judiciary is about to be hijacked by Trump GOP as well.

Folks, I’m not going to lie.  We are in grave danger of falling into authoritarianism and fascism.

We, The People are no longer being represented by any branch of government.    The Founding Fathers set up a system with three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judiciary) that are supposed to provide a check and balance on a despotic president’s abuse of power so we don’t fall into tyranny.  That system has failed us.  We have become a nation of almost complete one party rule.   The election coming up will complete that process — or give us another chance to save our freedom and our rights.

Our last and only chance to save our democracy and regain our reputation as a moral nation that cares about its people, represents its people fairly, and respects and honors the Rule of Law is the midterm election, which is exactly a month from today.    If we fail — and that is a real possibility due to voter suppression, gerrymandering, Russian influence, GOP tampering with voting machines, etc. — any semblance of democracy will be gone and we will be in free fall into fascism and a miserable future for our children and grandchildren.

But I think if everyone who hates this authoritarian system they are trying to install gets out and votes, that we can overcome Trump’s GOP and reclaim democracy.  Even if we still have to put up with Trump for a couple more years, the consolidation of power we have been witnessing will be greatly curtailed.

Here are some handy suggestions for voters and potential voters.

1. Make sure you are registered.   You can check your status here.  Check it weekly, since many states are doing voter purges and just because your name is there this week, doesn’t mean it will be next week.

2.  If you aren’t registered, do it now!  (It may be too late in some places).  Here is a site where you can register.   Procedures may vary by state.   Here is where you can also find out how to submit an absentee vote if you are going to be away from the polls on Voting Day.

3.  Don’t believe the polls and news stories that crow about a “blue wave” happening.   It may not happen and these reports of the surety of a blue wave can lull you into complacency and make you think we have it in the bag.   We don’t have it in the bag, and you need to vote, no matter what the polls say.

4.  There’s a lot of disinformation on the internet, and in recent years there are websites that tell you you can vote online.   Ignore these!  You cannot vote online.  These sites are fake, and probably a sneaky voter suppression technique (if you “vote” online, you won’t show up at the polls).   They can also be dangerous and hack into your personal information or install malware on your computer.  Avoid them!

5.  Bring someone with you who has never voted before.  Explain to them why their vote is so important.   Educate them about what is happening to America right now, if they don’t follow the news.  You’d be surprised how many people don’t.  I used to be one of those people, until Trump.

Here’s something that happened.  The other day at the grocery store I overheard two ladies talking and one of them didn’t even know who Brett Kavanaugh was.  She said she doesn’t follow the news.  Millions of people really have no idea they are about to lose everything, all their rights and freedoms, even as we in the Resistance watch our beautiful country go down in flames. It’s our responsibility to educate these people, and get them to vote.  It’s a lot easier to educate an uninformed person and take them to the polls than wasting time trying to change the mind of a Trump supporter, who follow their own fake news stories and whose minds apparently cannot be changed.

If the person has no way to get to the polls, offer to drive them there.

6.  Even if you don’t bring a new voter to the polls with you, at least talk to people who have never voted before about why their vote matters.   Elections have been decided on one or two votes!   Your vote holds more weight in a midterm election than in a presidential one.   If there are any doubts, have them read this article (or read it yourself):

10 Elections Decided by One Vote or Less 

7.  Offer to carpool for people who want to vote, but have no transportation or can’t make it to the polls for other reasons (handicapped, etc.).   Put a sign offering this on a community bulletin board at your church, school, library, or another public place.  Many grocery stores have a community bulletin board.  Or put your offer on your social media page (if you’re a woman, be careful with this though and don’t offer to take a man with you unless there’s at least one other woman along for the ride).

8.  If you don’t have the day off work (most people don’t, which is a shame and one of the reasons voter turnout in America is so abysmal), take the day off!  Don’t feel guilty.   You are doing your patriotic duty to help save our country from creeping authoritarianism.   Lie and say you’re sick if you must, but get to the polls.

9.  Don’t be a purist.  This is not the time to vote for an Independent, Green Party politician, or for a member of any party that isn’t one of the two main political parties.  If you’re a liberal, moderate, or Never Trumper, a vote for another party candidate is really a vote for the GOP.    I hope you vote Democratic.   The new GOP is not your father’s (or even your older brother’s) Republican Party.   If you care about saving democracy, you must vote Democratic, even if you don’t particularly like the candidate, or don’t agree with their entire platform.   Hold your nose if you have to and just do it!

10.  Be prepared for long lines.   There are going to be many more people waiting on line to vote than in normal times, or even during presidential elections.   Bring a book or a Kindle with you so you can read while you wait, or at least your smartphone so you can browse the internet or text your friends.    Even better, strike up a conversation with other people standing in line.   Bring snacks and drinks too because you are probably going to get hungry or thirsty.

11.  If possible, demand a paper ballot.  You may not have that option, but it’s worth asking.  Paper ballots are safer because they can’t be tampered with like electronic voting machines can be.   Or submit an absentee ballot to get around that.

12.  If you get one, display your “I Voted” sticker proudly.   You just helped save democracy!

13.  If you don’t vote, don’t complain about what happens later.

If you think of any other voting tips, please put them in the comments.  Happy voting!

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