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Think Local: Why Your Vote Matters

October 14, 2020

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There are more reasons to vote than the presidency.

After getting blasted with political ads for weeks on end, you might feel like tuning out. But don’t.

The president is only one election that will be decided by November ballots.

Across the nation, local and state offices and measures are up for grabs.

Aside from local and state appointments like mayor and governor, many seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate will be elected.

Local politicians have a big effect on your community, and your vote has a big effect on which local politicians win. 

Local Elections Determine Local Policy

Whatever state you call home, you have rights under the U.S. Constitution. 

But states have a lot of freedom too, and local politicians have a big say in how states are run. 

States decide many of their own laws and how their budgets are spent. These decisions will affect your community. 

The November ballots also choose which Representatives from your district will be elected to Congress. 

Many seats in the Senate will also be decided in November. So your ballot will determine what Congress looks like next year, and that shapes much of the national policy in our country.

On top of that, many local politicians will also be elected in November.

When we say local politicians, we’re talking about elected officials like judges, Police Commissioners and School Board members.

These are the people who decide how the schools and police departments in your neighborhood are run. 

What do local politicians do?

Government has many different functions. It controls everything from how the roads are built to how much money schools get. 

Most of these decisions come from local politicians—not Washington.

How do local politics affect your life? In more ways than you’d think.

Cities decide how they want their police to work, so it’s local legislation that determines what laws police must follow. The amount of funding police departments have is also largely determined by local elections.

Local elections govern how school systems work. Schools are open in some regions right now and closed in others. 

The people who decide if students are allowed to go to school in your neighborhood are the same people on the ballot this November.

When it comes to the environment in your region, local laws determine what’s allowed and what’s not. 

If an oil company is looking to drill in your neighborhood, then pay close attention to which leaders support what legislation. 

How to find who’s on the ballot

To find out more about local and state elections in your area, check out Ballotpedia.

On the website, you can check your ballot by typing in your address. You’ll be able to see which elections are scheduled for November and what politicians are running for office.

Find the names of the politicians running for office in your area and check out their campaigns to find out where they stand on the issues that you care about.

Most of the candidates in your area will have a website that details their campaign. Beyond candidate websites, the local newspapers in your city are also a good place to find out more about community issues and elections.

This November, there’s much more at stake than the presidency. Your voice matters in all elections. But in local elections, your voice is the loudest.

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC (“Bank”).. Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).

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Julian Dossett

Julian Dossett

Julian is a tech and finance writer, covering stories from artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency to personal loans and credit cards. His work has appeared at The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, and Blockchain Beach. As a former Cision editor, Julian worked across the table from many of the nation’s most trusted brands. He’s currently based in New Mexico.

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