Midterm Election? Not So Scary! We Prepared a Guide for You.
Author: Emmett Eilers
Editor: Wendy Cheng
Rules encompass our entire lives. We must live by them to succeed; breaking them can harm our lives. In California, there are hundreds and thousands of laws ranging from obvious ones against stealing to odd ones about sandwich shops. However, despite the extensive list of these rules, the United States Government only asks you to do two things-pay your taxes and vote. While the former is heavily enforced, except if you're a billionaire, the latter is a suggestion to many people. This is because people are unaware of many of the items being voted on or don't understand how to vote. That's where I come in. As a newly registered voter, I will teach you about some of the most critical topics of this election and show you how to register to vote in California. Let's start with what you can vote on. This year, seven propositions (the decisions you will vote on) are on the ballot. But first, let's break down what a ballot is. Your ballot is your strict shot to the government to ensure your opinion gets heard. With the November election, you will have two options for each of the seven propositions- YES or NO. While it may seem simple, thoroughly consider each proposition and decide. Okay, now let's dive into the propositions. I will just be telling you what they are but if you want more information on them, go to Ballotpedia to get an in-depth view of each proposition. Also, before we start, I will only be going over the YES vote for each proposition; the NO vote will cancel and stop the proposition from taking action. Proposition 1. This proposition is about abortion. Voting YES will provide a state constitutional right to abortion. Proposition 26. Voting YES will legalize sports betting at casinos and racetracks in California. Proposition 27. Voting YES will legalize mobile sports betting; portions of this money will be put towards homelessness, mental health support, and support to native American tribes. Proposition 28. Voting YES will require state funding for music education for K-12 schools. Proposition 29. Voting YES will place more measures on chronic dialysis clinics to make them more transparent. Proposition 30. Voting YES will increase the personal tax for those whose income is over 2 million and put money into zero-emission vehicle projects. Proposition 31. Voting YES will uphold the ban on flavored tobacco (vape) sales. Ok now that we are done with that let's move on to who you can vote for this election. You can vote on many cities, counties, and state positions. These are all vital to your everyday life, but I will focus on something broader for all of California, the representative race. But what is this race? Why is it important? A representative is a person who is elected to represent your city (or multiple cities) in Congress. This means that whoever you vote for will try to represent you the best they can on capital hill. However, they still have political parties with large sets of beliefs. With this in mind, control of the House of Representatives is a fierce competition. So how do you find your representative? Well, it is not too difficult, go to ziplook.house.gov and type in your zip code. This will show you who your current representative is and what district they serve. With this, you can look up who is running in your district to be your next representative. You can use websites like CalMatters or use the candidates' website. With this information, you can do the research necessary for your vote.
Remember, these men and women are chosen to represent you and your beliefs, so vote for one who you think will best reflect those. Alright, I know that this is a lot of information, but we need to talk about one last thing, how to register to vote. This is the essential part, as you can’t vote without registering. You can vote in three ways: online, by mail, and in person. To register online, go to vote.gov, and select California in the drop-down menu and what territory you are in. This will then take you to the California register page, where you can follow the instructions. This is the method that I did and should take you about fifteen minutes. To register by mail, look for the National Mail Voter Registration Form and fill it out. Then, sign it and mail it to the designated location on the form. Lastly, you can register in person. To do this, you must leave your house (scary, I know) and find a physical location. This can be your local DMV, Armed Forces recruitment center, or a state or county assistance office. All you have to do is enter and ask them for a voter registration form. Though it may seem daunting, registering is easy and essential, so go and do it. And that's it. That is everything you need to know to vote. Just remember two things; the first is to do research. Your vote matters and should reflect what you believe in the most. Doing research will ensure that you vote for the right person for you, no matter your political party (if they even have one). Secondly, remember to vote. In California, voting is on November 8, and it will only take a few minutes out of your day. If you genuinely can’t find the time, you can always mail in your ballot. Overall, voting is one of the essential things that you can do as an American. It will ensure that your voice is heard and it will only take a few minutes out of your day. I hope that this has helped you to decipher the world of voting, and I genuinely hope that I see you at the polls this November!