2024 will be here shortly, leaders of voting rights organizations discuss preparing to vote and the impacts elections have on our democracy.
This December, Wisconsinites will enjoy time with loved ones, warm meals, freezing temperatures, and treasured holiday festivities. As leaders of voting rights organizations, we won’t be able to help but have voting on our minds, knowing that we are just one month away from a jam-packed election year.
We may not have had an election this fall season, but Wisconsin has a rapidly approaching primary election on February 20 for local nonpartisan offices, followed by an April general election, which also includes a presidential primary. There will then be an August primary followed by the November general election that includes races for legislative seats, the US House, US Senate, and of course for President and Vice President of the United States. It may seem a bit early to start thinking about who to vote for, but it is never too early to prepare to cast your ballot.
We can all remember the first time we had the opportunity to vote. For many of us, voting has become a routine. But there are many people out there who do not actively vote in our elections. Now is the time to start having discussions over holiday dinners with our friends, family members, and colleagues about the significance of voting.
In our communities, cities, towns, and neighborhoods across the Badger State, one thing that unites us is our common desire for better futures for our children. We all want to be able to cast our ballots in a fair, safe, and accessible way to ensure this. Voting is a crucial way to make our voices heard on the issues most important to us and to choose the leaders who make decisions on our behalf. Our elected officials make decisions about every aspect of our lives, from our public schools, our health care, the environments we live in, our reproductive freedoms, and so much more. Using our voices by voting and participating in that process is our chance to build a sustainable future for the next generation.
We know that may sound aspirational in the midst of the chaotic political environment we find ourselves in today. In the last year, attacks on our democratic systems have continued, from legislation intended to limit our freedom to vote to the spread of disinformation about our voting systems, as well as attacks on our trusted elected officials. There have even been conversations around attempts to overturn the results of our elections, including the result of our Wisconsin Supreme Court race earlier this year.
It’s been overwhelming and at many times discouraging, to say the least. But voting is our opportunity to stand up against the constant attempts to silence our voices and undermine our democracy.
It is worth noting that there are continued efforts to protect our voting power. Recently introduced in Congress are the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which include important safeguards to our democracy by expanding our access to the ballot box, preventing efforts to quiet our voices and suppress our votes, and ensuring all votes cast will be counted. These bills include provisions to hold our elected officials accountable by setting uniform standards for redistricting and removing any unnecessary barriers to vote while keeping our elections safe and secure. They also provide a federal benchmark that will protect the essential freedoms of voters in Wisconsin and across the country.
Now, more than ever, our voices are needed. When we vote, we only continue to build strength and confidence in our election systems.
Now is the perfect time to take the first step in making sure you are ready to vote next year by registering to vote. And while you’re at it, make sure you ask five other friends if they are registered and have a plan to vote. Our democracy works best when we all show up.
Here is a list of voting resources to get you started:
• To register to vote, visit myvote.wi.gov/register-to-vote
• If you need a voting ID, visit bringit.wi.gov
• You can find a calendar of voting dates and deadlines on the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin website here.
We wish you happy holidays and happy voting!
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