When thinking about Election Day (November 4), most people are most concerned with who is on the ballot for President of the United States—understandable, considering it's one of the most powerful roles in our government today. However, people often overlook the other offices and positions that are also being voted on at this time, particularly ones closer to home like state representatives and senators. People in these local offices often tend to play bigger roles in our everyday lives than whomever holds the Oval Office. So, how you can you prepare yourself to cast every possible vote and get the most bang out of your ballot?
Voting is when you get a chance to voice your opinion about what you want the future government to look like and choose who you want to be making the big decisions that can and will affect you and those around you. Complaining about the government is fruitless when you haven't even taken the time to cast your vote.
Know the candidates
Research what offices are going to be voted on and which candidates are on the ballot. Once you have a better understanding of who could potentially be calling the shots in your area, as well as for the country overall, you'll be better equipped to make your decision. You may know who they are, but before you start voting based off of public opinion, you should know what they stand for. Tools like I Side With can help you find out which presidential candidate aligns most with your values, and doing a simple Google search for the websites of local politicians can help you learn more about them.
Know the issues
Everyone has their own opinions on various issues currently being debated, but which ones are most important to you? After researching candidates think about which one fits best for you. Don't expect to agree with every stance they may take; that would be impossible. Just try to focus on those that are the most important to you.
Don't forget about the little guy
State government is there to make laws and policies that are suited for your specific area. Laws like these are more easily passed and may make the most difference in your community. These are also the people who are going to be representing your area in federal government, so you are going to want to be sure they have your best interests in mind.
Election Day is a big deal and should not be taken lightly, nor gone into blindly. Whether it's your first time voting or you're a seasoned pro, know the facts and make sure your voice heard in all levels of the government.
The above video is part of We the Voters, a groundbreaking social impact campaign designed to inspire and activate millions of young Americans through 20 viral films hosted by actors and influencers. The project incorporates real characters, dynamic story lines and celebrity influencers to demystify how the government and elections work and motivate Americans to seize their power by voting in the 2016 elections. For more information, and to see the rest of the films, visit We the Voters.com.