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Preparing for Elections: November 2018

posted Sep 26, 2018, 12:46 PM by Rahni Jere Sumler   [ updated Sep 26, 2018, 12:57 PM ]
The main tactic for combating voter suppression is to start early. Back in January we stressed the importance of getting registered and participating in the primaries earlier in the year. Primaries determine the quality of candidates that are available for election in November.

Election 2018 Widget result for "early voting nc".  Search brings up the Election 2018 widget. You can pick other states from the drop down menu. Going to the official election website allows you to get sample ballots for researching candidates. 
Now it is time to prepare for the general elections in November.
This November the majority of the states will have elections at the federal level, the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as those same offices at the state level. With so much turmoil happening at the federal level, it is critical to pay attention to the state and local level politics to protect our union.

At the smaller local level, companies have bought out local elections to get control. Privation of utilities is one large issue where companies like Duke Power profiteer off of installing politicians to support their business. 

Two ways to combat Voter Suppression: Vote Early, Vote Absentee

Beginning early allows you to take advantage of several avenues to vote such as early voting, voting at specific polls before election day, or voting by mail. Voting by mail is also known as absentee voting. Be sure to learn the difference between provisional and absentee voting.
Provisional voting means that your vote is verified after the election. This means voting provisionally may not count towards the election. Absentee voting requires that you certify your voting status prior, ensuring that your vote is counted for the election. has a specific search widget for the November 2018 election. Searching for "early voting [your state]" pulls up an Election 2018 widget that gives you all the information that you need, including links to:
  • Registering to vote
  • Checking registration status
  • Requesting an absentee ballot.
It also has a link to ID requirements for your state and important deadlines for voting listed in the widget for your convenience. You can also get samples of the voting ballot with the confirmed candidates by following the link to your state's official voting website. Once you have obtained the voting ballot, you can begin to strategize for your vote. 
Voting early or absentee ensures your vote is cast with as little resistance as possible. Some states, such at NY, do not have early voting. However, they do have absentee ballots. 

Protecting Local Elections and other Voting Strategies

If you are interested in issues such as corporate money in local elections, vote in all elections including the primaries. This ensures you can weed out people who are funded by the local large corporations. You can research candidates and their funding in your state at This is also a great place to start researching elections once you have your sample ballot.

As far as other voting strategies, there are many approaches depending upon the sort of election. In the primaries, it is always better to vote for people who represent you. This is because you are voting within your chosen party and this is the opportunity to approve vetted people for the general election.

In the general election, the strategies vary. Many people vote a straight ticket for their party, i.e only voting for candidates within your party. This ensure that everyone elected has similar governing styles. It also makes it easier for the party to win if their voters are not split among different candidates.

Some people ignore party lines and vote for people who would represent them the best. This is the best approach for non-partisan offices as well, i.e. offices that don't rely on party ideologies to govern. Examples of this are judiciary offices, which are supposed to be non-partisan. One drawback of voting this way is that it favors more cohesive voting blocks. This is referred to as "vote splitting" If a large group of voters tend to always vote straight ticket, they are more likely to get their intended results. Data scientists speculate that this was how George W. Bush won the 2000.