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PSA: Vote in Your Local Elections Tomorrow
politics

PSA: Vote in Your Local Elections Tomorrow

Leigh Anderson, Gawker Media

Photo: Justin Grimes

Tomorrow is election day! No, not the presidential election, though that would be exciting. Or even Congressional elections, the second most-thrilling of all the times you cast your ballot. Maybe you've paid close attention to politics in your area-the mayoral race, the school board, and... all the other ones. Or maybe you haven't, either due to inattention or simply because the national news has kind of drowned out all other issues lately.

But it's not too late! There's still time to research who to vote for and what the big races are in your area, as well as to find your polling place and cast your ballot. Below, a few pointers for the procrastinating voter.

Where to Vote

First off, you need to find your polling station. This is not necessarily as easy as it sounds-I typed in my parents' address in West Virginia, my grandmother's in Delaware, and my own in New York, and was unable to find a single site that worked all three times (lots of 404s). So you might need to be patient and try a few different sites.

Try these polling-station locators first:

Or Google "how to find your poll site" + the name of your state. If that doesn't work, call your local board of elections. If that doesn't work, ask a neighbor or local friends on social media.

Who to Vote For

This is where your local paper comes in handy, if you still have one. The big papers at least will have endorsed candidates and made an argument that you may choose to accept or reject; as an experiment I Googled a random county in a small state and "local elections" and got at least the names candidates from a local blogger, but if you haven't been following the coverage, your best bet might be to ask a friend who's up on local politics for their recommendations, then do some quick internet research to confirm things for yourself.

How to Fill Out Your Ballot

Again, this is where you'll need some patience. Remember the infamous butterfly ballot in Palm Beach county in the 2000 presidential election? In which a surprising number of people who were unlikely to vote for Pat Buchanan pulled the lever for him anyway? If you can, take a look at a sample ballot-assuming your county offers one-so that you're not reading instructions and parsing some weird ballot design before you've had all your coffee. And, as Jesse Singal writes in the story about the butterfly ballot, take your time in filling it out, and ask for help if you need to.

Why You Should Vote at All

Many things that actually affect your daily life are decided at the local level : what your state's abortion laws are, what funding your local public school gets, whether weed is legal or not and how it's taxed. If you tend to care more about national politics than local, also remember that local elected officials are the farm team for the big leagues; today's school board member is tomorrow's congresswoman. So as riveting as the big elections are, it's the little things that add up to real social change. See you at the polling station!

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