Don’t Boo — Vote!August 04, 2016
The balloons have dropped, both parties have selected their nominees, and now the time has come for AAUW members across the country to roll up their sleeves and get out the vote! There are fewer than 100 days until Election Day 2016 and countless opportunities to ensure that women’s voices are heard on November 8.
From our paychecks to paid leave, from access to reproductive health care to educational funding, there is so much at stake each time women head to the polls. Politicians and policy makers at all levels of government routinely make decisions about issues that directly affect us and our families. But more often than not, the conversation lacks women’s voices.
This year, for the first time ever, unmarried women, people of color, and millennials — collectively known as the “rising American electorate” — make up the majority of voting-eligible citizens in the United States. These demographics are overwhelmingly responsible for the recent growth in the U.S. population, and their numbers are increasing.
But while these groups have the power to influence elections and set policy priorities, they are also significantly underregistered and underrepresented in elections. In 2014, more than 75 million members of the rising American electorate did not vote. Why? Research shows that the biggest reason members of these groups don’t participate is lack of policy debates on issues that are important to them and lack of information on the candidates.
There is so much you can do to ensure that voters are educated, able to exercise their right, and encouraged to do so on Election Day. Host a voter registration drive in your community. Plan a candidate forum or debate, and ask the candidates where they stand on AAUW issues. Challenge your friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors to pledge to vote on November 8 and to ask their networks to do the same. Candidates should take care to acknowledge issues that affect women instead of ignoring us or pandering. But candidates just might need a little pressure.
Between now and Election Day, let’s start conversations about the issues that affect our families and communities. We need to ask tough questions, jump-start the dialogue, and determine where our candidates stand. We want the facts, and we need to speak truth to power.
As the saying goes, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” And what if you’re not in the voting booth? Women must show that candidates and officials will be held accountable for how they stand on women’s issues, November 8 and beyond.
It’s a simple as this: When women vote, we change the conversation. Be sure to make your voice heard this election. More get-out-the-vote resources are available at the AAUW Action Fund.
AAUW is dedicated to making sure every woman is registered and has all the information she needs to cast her vote.
If you need to help someone register — or register yourself — send them here!
Election activities carried out in AAUW’s name must be conducted within the guidelines set out in AAUW policies.