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LGBTQ+ Issues Are on the Ballot This Year

Let’s talk about the races that have the most direct effect on our community and our quality of life: down-ballot races. That includes school board elections, local offices, and other races that everyone here in California will have an opportunity to weigh in on Tuesday, March 5. 

According to some estimates, nearly a third of all voters don’t fully complete their ballot, only casting votes in high-profile races for president, U.S. senate, and the like. When they get to the contests farther down on the ballot, some just skip over them completely. This means that far fewer people determine the outcomes of races like these, which could have dangerous implications this year. School board races in Glendale, for instance, have the potential to make a profound impact on our entire community.

Is it really that important to vote in down-ballot races?

Yes! In fact, some would argue that these races are the most important part of the ballot. Of course, other races are important too, but the most pressing issues that we’ve seen crop up in our area—including hate, violence, and attacks on our community—aren’t going to be solved by a U.S. Senator or the President of the United States. They are going to be solved by our Glendale City Council members and school board officials.

Okay, but I’m not sure that I know enough about these races to vote confidently.

We get it, and you’re not alone. One of the main reasons folks don’t complete their ballot is because they often feel like they don’t have enough information about the candidates. However, because the stakes in these races are so high, it’s important to take the time to do some research.

You can learn more about candidates for Glendale’s school board here:

This is all really helpful, but I still feel a little overwhelmed.

We get it; that’s how a lot of us feel. But you don’t have to do this alone. One of the best ways you can help yourself and others is by getting together with your friends and neighbors to research and discuss your ballots together. It’s a good way to feel like you are in this with others and ensure that those closest to you are actively participating in making our community a better, safer, and more welcoming place for everyone. Consider hosting a ballot party where you and your friends can vote, or create a voting plan, together!

What is a voting plan?

A voting plan is a way to help you figure out what research you want to do to become a more informed voter and ensure that your ballot is properly submitted and counted. It could be as simple as setting aside some time to fill out your mail-in ballot, deciding where you’ll go to turn it in, and encouraging a loved one to do the same. Here are some steps to get you started:

  • Check your voter registration to make sure everything is up to date.
  • If you aren’t registered, you can easily do it online here. (If you missed the registration deadline, you can sign-up for same-day voter registration at any county elections office, polling place, or vote center.)
  • Make sure you know what deadlines are coming up to cast your ballot.
  • If you want to vote at home, be sure you registered to vote before the deadline; LA County sends all registered voters a mail-in ballot ahead of each election. If you’re registered to vote and haven’t received a ballot in the mail, you can request one here anytime before Tuesday, Feb. 27.
  • If you vote at home, all you have to do is make sure your ballot gets mailed back by Election Day, March 5. As long as the county receives your ballot within seven days of the election, it will be counted. You can track your ballot online to make sure it was counted.
  • You can also return your ballot to any vote center in LA County. You may also deposit your ballot at any one of the county’s ballot drop boxes.
  • Research the candidates using some of the available resources, and share those resources with your friends and family.
  • Talk to your loved ones. If you’re a teacher, talk to other community members, neighbors, and others about what they’re thinking and feeling about school board races.
  • Share your voting plans and information with your friends and family. Drop them a calendar invite so you can all vote together in person.
  • In Glendale, you can vote in person up to 11 days ahead of the election, making it convenient and easy to make time to show up to the polls. 

This year we have an important choice in Glendale. Your vote could make the difference between four years of book bans, attacks on LGBTQ+ kids, and manipulation of lesson plans to ignore history and a school district that creates a safe and secure learning environment for all students. This is not the election to sleep on; it’s time for us to do everything we can to make our voices heard by voting in all the races on the ballot.

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