The so called “off-year elections”, when neither Congress nor the office of President are up for a vote, typically draws a low turnout and there aren’t many raced on the ballot. Many candidates may even be unopposed. As someone who will always call New Jersey home, and has lived in Virginia for over a decade, I always pay special attention to this election cycle – the two states that have a significant role in my life are the only two states holding a statewide election on Tuesday, November 7th. Both governors in New Jersey and Virginia are term-limited. In New Jersey, both houses of the legislature are up and in Virginia voters will elect new members to the House of Delegates.
Some voters in Utah will be casting a vote in a special election to fill a vacant seat in the 3rd Congressional District and Jason Chaffetz resigned from Congress. There will be also be a special election in Washington to fill the state Senate seat for the 45th legislative district. The outcome of this election will determine the partisan balance of power since the State Senate is currently evenly split.
A number of ballot initiatives, mayoral races (at least 21 major cities in 14 states), and a variety of other local elections will also occur. As a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Goodwill® does not support any individual candidates, but we do encourage stakeholders to vote and let their voices be heard. The races and ballot measures should not be overlooked, especially given the potential impact that they could have on nonprofits like Goodwill and the people that we serve. These issues covered by 22 ballot measures include: changes to health care, including Medicaid; criminal justice reforms; infrastructure funding; and tax reforms.
Regardless of the election outcomes, the act of voting is just one way in which individuals can partake in our democracy. Our friends at NonprofitVOTE have created some tools and resources to ensure that everyone can #BeVocalVoteLocal in the upcoming elections:
- Visit the Nonprofit VOTE Voter Engagement Library to find resources on ballot measures, voter turnout, voter registration and more.
- Elections vary by state, so use the Voting in Your State Map to find information for where you live.
- 866-OUR-VOTE is an Election Protection coalition and hotline number
- Don’t forget to bring ID to the polls! Print some Vote Riders Voter ID Wallet Cards to remind you of what your state accepts.
As we continue to countdown to the 2018 mid-term elections and focus on the national stage, let us not forget the important role that communities play and that every voice matters.