Election Day: Time to Make a Voting Plan

Tomorrow is election day for the U.S. midterm elections! It is so important to get out and vote, so if you didn’t participate in your state’s early voting, it’s time to make a plan!

Before you go, I would recommend studying the ballot and considering every candidate. In Texas (and presumably in most other states), you can download an electronic copy of your local ballot so that you know exactly what to expect at the voting booth. Here’s the link to find yours in Texas: VoteTexas. Another good resource for those outside of Texas is the Skimm’s ballot cheat sheet. I find it really helpful to write down every candidate that I plan to vote for and print my list off to take with me. Most voting places will not allow you to have your cell phone out, so it is important to bring a print-out rather than relying on electronics.

Even though I strongly support one political party, I find that my ballots are almost always split pretty evenly. In Texas, we vote for our local judges (which I think is ridiculous) and I think electing capable, intelligent, efficient, and experienced attorneys for these roles is far more important than what political party they vote for. Even though I’m a lawyer myself, I don’t practice in the local courtrooms and don’t know which judges are the best. Therefore, I rely on local legal organizations to vet judges for me. In Houston, I would strongly recommend the judicial endorsements of the Association of Women Attorneys. They set up a judicial screening committee for each election and interview all of the candidates. Their recommendations are non-partisan and focused on which judges are the best for the job. If you don’t live in Houston, I would suggest searching for your local bar association and seeing if they conduct a similar endorsement process. Even though I trust the Association of Women Attorneys, I also cross-reference their endorsements with those of our local paper, the Houston Chronicle. The two groups often agree, but I like that I can read more detail about each specific election in the Chronicle when there is a split.

Once you print out your ballot or list of names to vote for, make a plan to get to the polls early on election day. When I’m voting on election day, I try to wake up extra early and swing by before work. If you have a flexible schedule, I would suggest trying to go at an “off-peak” time, such as between 10-11 am or 2-4 pm. Turn-out has been high this year across the country, so it’s important to make sure you get a chance to vote! However, if you need to go late, remember that they cannot close the polls until everyone that was in line at closing time votes.

Once you’ve voted, take a picture of your sticker and share it to encourage others to vote! If you hashtag #justvoted and tag Taylor Swift on Instagram, you may even be featured in her Insta-stories! You can also get free food at a wide variety of restaurants on election day if you tell them you voted! This Eater piece shares some of the best deals in Houston!

Photo Credit: Washington Secretary of State

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