Your neighbor has yard signs.
Your parents have bumper stickers.
Your friends have their opinions.
The 2016 presidential election is, for lack of a better term, all up in your face. You can’t escape it (believe me, I’ve tried). Whether you are a pundit yourself or wishing that a referendum for “abolishing all political posts” would find its way on the ballots, we at NextGen MilSpouse want to remind you:
This election is not just Clinton, Trump, (and for those 13% of Americans, Johnson), running this year. National elections get so much coverage, but elections at the local level are just as important.
From president to public works, the 2016 election is one you have to vote in.
Repeat after me: my vote counts. Local elections are exciting. They’re often decided by a seriously slim margin, which means your voice can make a noticeable, visible and important difference in your city or state.
Governors are to the state what the general is to the base. Sure, they still have a chain of command, but ultimately, they run their own show.
This year, voters will elect governors in Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
While a governor’s authorities vary from state to state, governors essentially serve as the CEO. They are the highest ranking elected official. They run the state’s budget, can enact executive orders, legislative vetoes, and their official duties can include appointing state court judges and serving as the commander-in-chief of the National Guard for the state.
Governors get it done.
You’ll want to make sure that you have one you like in there.
Now that you know whether or not you’re voting for a governor this year, you might be in one of the 34 states this year electing a new senator. Each state has 2 senators, but the Constitution prohibits them from being up for election in the same year.
Why do the senate elections matter?
A lot of reasons, but the one you’ll probably hear about most is “control.” With 34 seats up for grabs, Congress’s control (Republican or Democrat) hangs in the balance. It’s currently a Republican Senate with 54 seats to the Democrats 44 (and 2 seats belonging to Independents).
Why does that matter?
Also a lot of reasons, but the one most people are talking about is because of the opening on the Supreme Court. You need 60 votes to confirm a justice.
Why do you care about that?
Because the Supreme Court decides on everything from Hobby Lobby to gun control and anything in between.
Did you luck out and live in a state without a governor’s or senate race? Well, one you can’t escape is the House. All 435 representatives are up for re-election this year. Even the non-voting delegates from D.C. and the 5 inhabited U.S. territories are campaigning this cycle.
The House is so important for the direction of our country; they are part of the system that makes and passes the laws.
Needless to say, the federal and state elections alone are enough to head to the polls for – president, governors, senators, representatives. But beyond that, some of the most important decisions that will be made for your family legislatively will be made by men and women who live and work right in your town. Whether it’s the mayor, the sheriff, a school board representative, a judge or a city council member, these are the people that you elect to represent your family, your children, your livelihood. These are the positions that are most able to impact change on the local level.
We’re electing school board members in 38 states this year. These are the people that determine the path for your child’s education. It’s critical to get the right person in there.
Your sheriff is responsible for enforcing the law in the state and making sure law enforcement has the resources and training they need to be competent in their positions.
Your mayor might oversee all of these departments – fire, police, education, and more.
I know it’s a lot. I know you’re tired of the negative ads and even if you are confident in your vote, you could do without the constant press coverage of Hillary’s emails and Donald’s latest offensive tweet. It’s exhausting. The 2016 elections don’t have to be though. They should be enthralling, exciting, and more than anything, they should be an important priority.
So much of our military lives depend on who is in office.
Get involved at the local level.
Find a candidate you can be passionate about, and find a way to support him or her.
At the very least, make sure you vote.