I have a confession to make. When I first started voting, I voted only in presidential elections. That was in college, and in the years following my graduation. By the time I was a young parent I had added in Senate and Congress races. I justified this by saying I didn’t know enough about the smaller races so it was more responsible to abstain.
When I moved to Howard County in 1999, I was determined to become an educated voter in my new community. I’ve tried to do better every year, in each election. I still don’t understand why we elect sherriffs or judges. But, I keep trying to learn more.
It has become evident that voting in what many people perceive as the “lesser” races has become vitally important. In other states legislatures are changing rules that will make it harder to vote and/or make it easier to nullify election results. Don’t sleep on the decisions about Maryland State Senator and Representatives!
Another important race: Howard County Board of Education. Across the nation candidates funded by out-of-state ideologically-driven donors are running for their local boards of education and winning. Communities are finding their schools under attack by anti-LGBTQ+ bigots and their curricula stripped of divergent materials on American history and more.
While many are focusing on the “big” races, the balance of power in these “small” ones is in danger of shifting in a way that I find extremely concerning. It may feel like just too much to sort through and educate yourself about all these candidates but the alternative is grim. The damage we are seeing across the country might have been limited if more people did their homework and committed to voting small as well as big.
Early voting in the Maryland State Primary Election begins today. If you are going that route, here are the County locations for Early Voting:
In Maryland, you have three ways to vote: early, on July 19th, or by mail.
I’m voting by mail, which I did for the first time during the last Presidential Election. An added bonus: it will make it easier for me to pick just the right twenty candidates for Democratic Central Committee.
If you don’t know as much about those smaller races, ask a politically savvy friend. Or ask them where they got the best information to make their decisions. Don’t the skip over those parts of the ballot, and for Heaven’s sake, don’t fill them out willy-nilly.
Don’t sit this one out. Learn more about voting from this informational piece on Columbia Patch.
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