Tuesday, May 20, 2014

voting 101.

hey y'all!!
how's your tuesday going so far? it's our last week of preschool so i feel like it's gotten a bit crazy as we wind down the school year, but i am enjoying a bit of peace + quiet before my littles are home ALL the time. {which, i have to say, i am quite looking forward to. for now, anyway!}

if you live in texas, you might have heard we have a primary runoff going on right now. early voting started yesterday.  there are LOTS of negative + ugly ads that are airing right now. i know you're sick of it. i am too. it disgusts me, actually... that it has to get so nasty and negative. 

but y'all. 

you have to vote. you have no idea how much a single vote will do in state wide + local elections like this. before the hubbs ran for office, i thought voting in the November every four years was pretty awesome of me. i mean, i'm exercising my right to vote - that is so fervently fought for by men + women - and i'm voting for the president and maybe my congressman and a senator or two. that's what really makes a difference, right? 

those people in washington.

but really - what i've found out during this season of our life - it's completely opposite of what i've always thought. really the people that affect your daily life the most are your city council people, your school board... your municipal elections. and then there's the statewide people. {my hubby!} your state rep, state senator, county commissioner, your judges and DA. your attorney general and your governor.

those people make your statewide laws. they discuss your local education, your pro-life laws, your foster care system, your taxes, your criminal justice system, your water, your transportation, your health care systems. y'all - it's a LOT. 

it takes a lot longer for what washington does to trickle down into your life. 

so the moral of the story is to vote EVERY chance you get. exercise that right to vote that other countries are fighting desperately to have!

but how, you ask! 

i have no idea what races are happening and i have no idea who to vote for! the ads don't help because they BOTH seem like scumbags!

well that's why i'm here, friends! i'm just like you - a newbie to the political scene. my hubby is in his element in the political circles, but i'm much more at ease discussing the rangers score or what happened on nashville last week. but i do realize that there are people who work hard for us to protect our values + our country! so we need to support them!!

here are few tips::

1. do NOT believe everything you hear. {or read or see or smell or think!}

most of the time if you see something printed in a newspaper or on a television ad, there will be a nugget of truth in there somewhere. BUT you have no idea how twisted and sensationalized it can be {or might not be, for that matter}. so my advice is to look for citations. look for anything that says it's 'documented' somewhere. for example, if they are accusing someone of taking a certain vote in the legislature - they should cite that vote. google it right quick on your phone and that should be public record. check and see if they're telling the truth. if it's highly exaggerated, i'd guess they're not going to put any citation or record on there. just a thought. 

2. do a bit of research. 

i'm not telling you that you need to spend hours on the internet researching your candidates to be an educated voter. there are people that do that - that are just in the know and that love doing the research. i'm not one of them. and i just want someone to give me the facts. there aren't many places that you can find unbiased information, but my hubby did point me to the free voters guide. he did say it lays it all out there but i think they do end up endorsing candidates so they may not be completely unbiased. but it's a good shot. 

you type in your address and it will pull up your races. {see my races below}. can you tell i live in a red state??

one thing that is a good thing to note is their list of endorsements {see below}. if you want you can look up these groups or people and see what THEY stand for and then see who they align themselves with. 

3. write it down!!!

this is something i NEVER knew until the hubbs ran for office. you can write down on a slip of paper who you're voting for and take it in to the polls with you!!! you just can't take candidate paraphernalia in there, i believe. there are many organizations that mail out sample ballots, so if you've voted before in a primary you might get one in the mail that's easy to take in with you!!

4. don't vote if you don't know

this is also something i didn't know until i voted for my hubby. you do not have to vote in every race on the ballot. if you feel very comfortable with your vote for attorney general, for example, but do not feel like you know enough about the other candidates - just go vote for attorney general! it's that easy! no one will know you didn't vote for everyone - if that's what you're worried about! and i beg you, please don't guess on a vote. my hubby's race was pretty far down on the primary ballot when he ran and i just didn't want people 'picking' a name by what sounded better or familiar. that is not the way to break the cycle, people! there is nothing wrong with a no vote if you don't feel comfortable voting. 

5. be kind. 

every person that is running for office started with a love of their state or country. i don't care where they are now - whether they're career politicians and slimy or if they are still caring and hardcore and in your face. they are PEOPLE. and if you want good people to run for office, you need to make it worth their while by being kind. if there are people standing at the polls you do NOT have to stop and talk to them, but you can smile and say "thank you for fighting for something." even if it's not your candidate. they'll appreciate it more than you know. i promise. i've been there.

so there you have it - a no excuse method to go make a vote! early voting in texas is SO much better because you can vote anywhere in your county instead of a very specific location based on where you live! if you have any questions about finding your poll location or your races or whatever, please don't hesitate to ask! i'm not a political junky, but i do believe in the importance of our office holders and raising up a new generation of leaders!! 

 GO VOTE!!!!!

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