Don’t vote in this year’s presidential election. Apparently, from what people are telling me, both real choices are awful, and I hear there are two “third party” candidates that likely won’t get enough votes to win a single state. So here’s my advice: don’t cast a vote for president.
Instead, cast votes that matter. The policies that most directly affect your neighbors (you know, the people Jesus told you to love) are decided at the state and local level. For Avoca, that means Representative Mike Carroll and Senator John Blake at the state level, and Representative Matt Cartwright at the federal level – along with our two state senators, Bob Casey and Pat Toomey. If you don’t live in Avoca, it’s easy to find who represents you in congress: go to PA’s Find Your Legislator tool for the state level, and go to the US House’s Find Your Representative tool for the federal level.
Presidents aren’t the ones who make local tax policies and business regulations. They’re not the ones who get funding for local roads and initiatives. They’re not the ones you can go to if you run into trouble or have an idea about how to make your community a better place. The people you go to for all these things and more are your local and state elected officials. The truth is, your presidential vote likely won’t count this fall. But your vote on many other elections will, as will your willingness to talk to others about these elections. And if your candidate wins (or even if they don’t) and you don’t like what they do once in office, you can call them out on it by getting in touch much more directly. So don’t vote for president. Vote for senators and representatives. Your right to vote was hard won – use it wisely!
To find out who’s running for office this fall, I’d suggest using vote-pa.org. Another option is vote411.org from the League of Women Voters
An easy way to figure out which candidate you agree with is to use Votesmart.org (althought Votesmart limits you to a certain number of profile views, and then will ask for $5 for unlimited access. Use your free access wisely). Just type in the name of the politician you’re looking for and click on “Positions” to get an overview or “Votes” to get more specific information. Here’s a cheat sheet for you to get informed about who you are going to vote for in the state and federal congressional elections, since you don’t need to worry about voting in the presidential one. Just click the linked names below to learn more:
It gets a bit tougher to find information for local elections. The great thing about this is that if, after spending some time on Google and the candidate’s website, you still don’t know what a candidate thinks about a particular issue – you can email them directly and ask! Just look on their website.
District 118 State Representative:
Mike Carroll (D) (unopposed – John Kowalski (R) dropped out)