Old Benjamin Franklin famously said something like “it’s your democracy, if you can keep it.”
His point? We can do better. We can progress. We can care for one another. We can vote.
And if we don’t—democracy is a fragile blessing, best appreciated daily, no matter how imperfect. Democracy itself is in peril, this year, and we urge you to vote, and make sure your friends register to vote.
We may want to avoid politics, but it will not avoid us.
For “politics” affects every inch of our lives: education, health care, food, travel, basic rights, clean air, safe homes, even the weather. Who we can love, our Social Security, our Post Office, our pre-existing conditions. Honesty, our income, a fair economy.
So don’t leave politics to the corrupt, bullying, aggressive, immoral, or greedy. Politics should be the playing field of those who are kind, those who are meek, those who are decent.
Let’s vote our hearts out!
2020 Your Vote Matters Challenge.
Thursday, October 1
1. Voting Rights
Exercising our voting rights in any election is important—but we also need to be aware that how we vote can influence our voting rights. And 2020 is no exception. The United States has a way to go before becoming a truly democratic society. One of the barriers to that is voting laws. Vote in 2020, so that you and others can have fair, equal, and democratic voting rights in the future.
What's At Stake
Friday, October 2
2. Register to Vote (If You Haven’t Already)
Everyone should double check to make sure they’re registered in their state. If you’re not, it’s not too late! All states allow you to register as late as October, and some states allow registration all the way up until election day. Find out your state’s deadline and get registered ASAP.
Register To Vote
Saturday, October 3
3. Decency & Empathy
The POTUS acts as more than just a policy creator or decision maker. They also act as an example of how we as Americans treat each other and behave. They can serve as a moral compass. They show the rest of the world what our American values are. If you believe that the United States should represent decency, empathy, and kindness toward one another, elect someone who will uphold that.
Sunday, October 4
4. Black Lives Matter
If we want to live in a country that acknowledges—and practices—the fact that Black Lives Matter, we need a government and a leader who is anti-racist, who implements policy to combat systemic racism, and who is willing to reform the criminal justice system. Is voting the only thing we can or should do to build an anti-racist society? Nope. But it is a necessary step.
Monday, October 5
5. Early Voting
If your state offers early voting, take advantage of it. We love early voting, because it helps increase overall voter turnout and decrease poll congestion on Election Day. This is particularly essential this year, with the country in the middle of a pandemic and the chaos happening with the USPS. For more info on early voting, click the link below.
Tuesday, October 6
The west coast had a historically bad fire season this year. Wildfires ravaged millions of acres, whole towns, and countless homes, and killed at least 14 people. This isn’t a fluke or a one-time thing. It’s our new normal. And it will only get worse—unless we take action and make sure that the people in power believe in climate change and genuinely give a damn about protecting the planet.
Wednesday, October 7
7. Educate Yourself (& Others!)
Oftentimes, those who are disinterested or hesitant to vote just don’t know enough about what’s at stake and why elections should matter to them. We can all benefit from educating ourselves and those around us about the issues that will be impacted by this election and how the different candidates will actually have an influence on our world. Knowledge really is power.
Thursday, October 8
8. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
We need to do the notorious feminist icon’s legacy proud by fighting for the things we care about. And, with her passing, her vacant Supreme Court seat is hugely consequential. If we care about Roe v. Wade, health care, climate change, or anything else the highest court influences, we need to fight for it—just like RBG would have.
Friday, October 9
9. Climate Change
The science is in—and has been in for quite some time. Climate change is happening, and we as humans are contributing to it. This will be one of the single most long-lasting consequences of the 2020 election. It will be one of the biggest parts of the legacy that we leave. Let’s save our planet—and protect the futures of the generations to come. V-O-T-E.
Saturday, October 10
10. Make Phone Calls (or Send Texts!)
Aside from voting, making phone calls or sending texts to potential voters is a great way to contribute. You can reach out to ask people to vote at all, or you can encourage people to vote for your preferred candidate(s). Nonprofits like Vote Save America and Indivisible have enthusiastic volunteers making calls throughout the country. Make a virtual date with friends or family and get calling!
Vote Save America
Sunday, October 11
Our ideas of ideal immigration policy may be diverse, but we can (or should) all agree that caging children at our southern borders is just not okay. We should never tolerate xenophobia, racism, or discrimination against immigrants. And we should never elect leaders who do.
Monday, October 12
12. Health Care
The Affordable Care Act is on the line in 2020. That means tens of millions of Americans’ health coverage is on the line. The implications of a potential overturn of the ACA would be enormous. If we didn’t already know it, this pandemic has taught us that health care and coverage for pre-existing conditions are vitally important. Luckily, we can do something about it in November.
Tuesday, October 13
13. Post, Tweet, Comment, Share
Social media has a complicated reputation these days, but we can always choose to use it for good and to amplify causes we care about. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms are great ways to engage with other voters, promote the candidates you love, and speak up about the issues you care about.
Wednesday, October 14
The legalization of weed is in no way all about folks wanting to get high—nor is it even just about people using THC and CBD to help with sleep, mental health issues, and chronic pain. The criminalization of marijuana has played an enormous role in criminal justice and systemic racism for decades. Black people are disproportionately affected by these laws, and it’s time we change that.
Thursday, October 15
15. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
If you can spare the funds, donate money to the causes and candidates you support. Every dollar counts, so no donation is too small. Other than the act of voting itself, donating money is one of the most consequential ways we can participate in elections.
Friday, October 16
16. Presidential Power
One of the marks of a good leader is that they never abuse or overstretch their power. They don’t use it for ill or for self-benefit. Let’s elect leaders who know that with power comes responsibility. Who take their power seriously. Who use it for the good of the people, not the profit of themselves.
Saturday, October 17
17. Transgender Rights
If you care about trans rights (and I sure as heck hope you do), this election matters. If we want equality for all people, no matter their gender identity or the body they were born into, this election matters. If we’d like trans people to have equal access to health care, this election matters. If you say you stand with trans folks, it’s time to put your vote where your mouth is.
Sunday, October 18
There is no place for islamophobia in this country. We cannot pretend to promote acceptance of all races and religions while throwing insults at Muslims and allowing policies that actively discriminate against them. If we want leaders who will wholeheartedly accept all people, no matter their beliefs, background, or color, it is our responsibility to put them in office.
Monday, October 19
19. Make Sure Your Mail-In Ballot Is Counted
1. Don’t forget to sign your ballot—and make sure it matches your other signatures! 2. Mail your ballot in on time—or, better yet, drop it off at a drop box (click link below to find out the deadline of your state). 3. Follow up on your ballot. If your state has a “ballot status” website, check that to make sure yours was counted. If it doesn’t, call your county elections board to find out.
Tuesday, October 20
20. Gun Policy
No matter where your beliefs land on the spectrum of gun rights and restrictions, there is no doubt that it will be an important issue in the next decade. With more than 200 school shootings in just the past 20 years, we cannot afford to ignore the issue of gun policy. Find out where each of the candidates stand on gun rights, and then act accordingly (i.e. vote!).
Wednesday, October 21
21. Natural Land Protection
The last four years have seen two of the biggest reductions of protected lands in United States history. Land protection is an important part of both preserving the beauty of natural landscapes throughout the country and preventing further environmental and ecosystem destruction. If you’d like leaders in office who give a care about our national natural treasures, vote.
Thursday, October 22
22. DACA & the “Dreamers”
The Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protects young undocumented immigrants—who came to the United States for reasons outside of their control—from deportation. They are the “Dreamers,” who have lived in the United States for most of their lives, and who deserve to chase the ideal of the American dream, just like the rest of us. If you care about DACA, vote.
Friday, October 23
23. Share Your Story, Share Your Voice
If you’ve got opinions, stories, ideas, tips, or thoughts about the 2020 election and the issues at stake, write about it. Educating others and sharing ideas is a form of political activism. Creativity is a tool for social change. (If you’d like to, post your writing on Elephant Journal!)
Share Your Voice
Saturday, October 24
24. Honesty & Transparency
We deserve leaders who are honest with us. Who tell the truth. Who are transparent about their past, their actions, their beliefs, and their administration. We deserve to not be lied to. Let’s hold leaders accountable and elect only those who value—and practice—honesty and transparency.
Sunday, October 25
25. Roe v. Wade
You may be pro-choice. You may be anti-abortion. But wherever you stand, there is no question that the future of abortion rights in our country could rest on the outcome of this election. So, regardless of your beliefs, make your opinion known and your influence made by...you guessed it: voting.
Monday, October 26
26. Volunteer to Be a Poll Worker
If you and the members of your household are young and healthy, consider volunteering to be an election worker. Poll workers are essential to the effective, democratic functioning of elections, and volunteering is particularly important this year with all the complications of 2020. You can sign up with your local election official.
Sign Up Here!
Tuesday, October 27
27. The Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA is a vitally important piece of our government, which was created with a fairly self-explanatory purpose: to protect the environment. We need leaders who take this mission and responsibility seriously, and who will pick EPA staffers who are committed to environmental justice and protection. Anything less than that, and we’re failing our planet.
Wednesday, October 28
28. (Politely) Harass Your Elected Officials
Have an opinion about what the Senate should do about the Supreme Court? Tell your senators. Care about voting policy and rights? Call your elected representatives. Any other issues you care about? Speak up. Share your voice. Let it be known.
Thursday, October 29
29. Freedom of the Press
Journalism is an essential part of any democracy. It’s what keeps power and government in check; it’s what holds our leaders accountable. We need leaders who respect the vital role the press plays, and who will not shut out or mock them in response to criticism. Let’s all make sure we maintain this pillar of a democratic society.
Friday, October 30
In September, we passed the 200,000 mark of American lives lost to COVID-19. But they aren’t just a statistic or a number—they were people, with moms and dads, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. We need leadership who can guide us with care, empathy, and responsibility through these challenging and frightening times. Let’s elect leaders who will unite us—and protect us—through this crisis.
Saturday, October 31
31. Get Prepped for Election Day
If you aren’t voting by mail, find out all the wheres, whens, and hows of election day in your area. Make sure you know where to go, when to be there, what you’ll need, and that you have a way to get there. Don’t forget your mask and any other pandemic-time precautions you’d like to bring (hand sanitizer, face shield, protective bubble, hazmat suit—you get the idea).
Download and share this handy guide with everyone who can, and should, vote. Stick it on your fridge, on your work noticeboard, on your front door…