Voting is the cornerstone of our representative democracy. In voting, citizens select who will make critical decisions that influence our health and lives, on topics like health coverage, education, and the environment. American history has been a difficult struggle to ensure that everyone is enfranchised and every voice is heard. We honor that struggle by exercising our right to vote.
Almost 1 in 5 eligible voters is unregistered, silencing millions of voices. Making matters worse, fewer people have registered to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic than expected. This January and February voter registration was even higher than 2016, but rates dropped dramatically in March and April, as shelter in place interventions began.
There are steps we can take, however, to make a difference. Together, we can get everyone prepared to vote.
- Make sure you’re registered to vote. Register if you haven’t yet – it only takes two minutes.
- If you’re already registered, check your registration status and get information on voting deadlines in your state.
Understand Recent Changes:
- The pandemic has required many changes to usual processes. It’s important to make sure you know how and when you can vote. If you plan to vote in person, know where you should go and when you should go
- Check whether your state requires voter identification, such as a driver’s license, and make sure you have a valid ID if needed. Some states require that proof of identification be included with returned ballots.
- Find out how to vote safely where you live. State voting options vary and may include voting by mail/absentee, early in-person voting, or in-person voting on the day of the election.
- If you’re voting in person, practice healthy voting – stay 6 feet away from others, wear a mask, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands well before and after voting. Come prepared for long lines, with a coat and comfortable shoes. You may be able to vote at less busy times, such as early morning or mid-afternoon.
- Reach out directly or through social media to encourage your friends and family to register, confirm their registration, check local voting options and requirements, and vote.
- You can volunteer if you’re comfortable serving as a poll worker during the pandemic – or you can help recruit others.
- Kaiser Permanente is leveraging our public platform to encourage registration and voting, promoting voting and civic engagement among our more than 12.4 million members and more than 217,000 employees and physicians.
When we vote, we impact decisions that have profound implications for the health of our communities. Everyone who is eligible and wants to vote should have that opportunity, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. We all have a role to play – let’s get out the vote.