Tuesday, November 8, 2016 is Election Day. This is probably one of the most important elections thus far in U.S. history. Not only is this a presidential election year, but elections will be held for all 441 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, in addition to 6 delegates from the 6 U.S. Territories, and 34 seats in the U.S. Senate! It is important for everyone to participate in the voting process even if you “think” it is obvious that one opponent will win. It is also important for us as dancers and artists to vote smART this upcoming election.
What exactly is at stake this election? Who will win the presidential election? Will the Republicans continue to hold control of both Houses? What are the new opportunities this election presents? These are some of the many questions we as concerned citizens and voters need to ask ourselves.
First things first. Are you registered to vote? If you live in New York State, the last day to register is Friday, October 14, 2016! To be eligible to vote, you must meet the following:
Be a U.S. Citizen
Be at least 18 years old
Live at your current address for at least 30 days before the election
You cannot be in prison, or on parole
You cannot be ruled mentally incompetent by a court
And you cannot claim the right to vote in more than one state
How to register:
Online– Go to the NYS-DMV website here. You will need your DMV issued driver’s license, permit, or state ID, your zip code, and last four digits of your social security number.
In person– Go to your county Board of Elections and do it in person. You can also go to most state agencies such as the Department of Health, Department of Labor, or the Department of Social Services.
Do you know who your Congressional representative is? Visit this website and enter your zip code and/or address.
Once you know who your representatives are, do your research and find out where they stand on issues that are important to you. If you are interested to find out how your Congressional representatives voted on key arts legislature, the Americans for the Arts Action Fund PAC, just released the 2016 Congressional Arts Report Card. It contains information on voting records and support for pro-arts initiatives.
As you begin to do your research, as dancers and artists we want to make educated decisions at the ballot box and truly vote smART. There is a lot at stake for the arts and we want to make sure that the arts will be included in policies in regards to equitable access, economic and community development, education and youth development, military services, health and healing, international diplomacy and cultural exchange, and technology and communications.
I urge you to really take the time to do your research, and make informed decisions to vote smART this election.