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2018 Midterms Young Voters

NextGen America campus organizer Simone Williams, left, talks in September in Madison with Grace Austin, a junior at the University of Wisconsin, about how to register to vote.  

Women are tired.

We’re constantly being called to do more, give more, BE more. We wake up every day piecing together limited budgets, maximizing our limited energy, and majoring in multitasking. We’re caregivers for so many — including our children, aging parents, co-workers, and members of our community — which often leaves little time and energy for us. It’s hard to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves day to day, and even harder to do our civic duty and take care of our state on top of that. But here’s the thing: This upcoming mid-term election is about taking care of ourselves. Voting is way to practice much-needed self-care.

Nov. 6 is the midterm election, and nearly every topic on the table this election season directly impacts women and our fundamental rights — the rights that many of us take for granted. This election is about taking care of our daughters, our mothers, our sisters, our friends, our co-workers, and our neighbors. But it’s also OUR time to do something really important for ourselves.

In the last midterm election, 44 percent of Wisconsin women who were eligible to vote did not cast a vote. Their votes stayed at home, and so did their voices. According to the Pew Research Center, these women were either too busy to stop by the polls, didn’t like the candidates, weren’t interested in the issues at stake, or simply were not convinced that their vote would make a difference in the long run.

To those of us who simply cannot make it to the polls on Election Cay, make sure your voice is still counted with early voting! Through Nov. 1 you can request an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.gov that you can complete from the comfort of your own home.

To those who are not interested in the issues at stake: I beg you to look a little deeper. On the national level, the president and Congress are debating whether we should have access to affordable and comprehensive health care. They’re debating whether we will be able to attend college without being crushed by debt. In our home state of Wisconsin, legislators are considering bills regarding access to reproductive health care, discrimination in the workplace, and many other economic issues that disproportionately affect women. At all levels, those elected to serve us are advancing policies that (more often than not!) are hindering our health, safety, and financial security.

To those who feel as though their singular vote is nothing more than a drop in the political bucket: Know that every "drop" counts. Each and every drop is needed to fill the bucket. Your vote does matter. It’s the vote (and last drop) that’s needed to reach the tipping point and make the bucket overflow.

We are all tired. Many of us wake each morning without nearly enough sleep, and drop into bed each night wondering how one could possibly be this worn out after even the most mundane of days. We’re tired of working twice as hard only to get half the praise and recognition, and a smaller portion of the pay than our male colleagues. We’re tired of having to both bear the burden of societal norms and expectations, while at the same time fighting against them. We’re tired of being called whiny and bossy and being “put in our place” any time we raise our voices in the pursuit of justice and equality. We’re all exhausted.

Take the time to take care of yourself by voting, because voting is a way to practice self-care and to get energized knowing we’re in the “kitchen” rather than on the “menu.”

If researching your candidates, registering to vote, and casting a ballot seems like one more task in an already-taxing agenda, I implore you to reconsider. For if we don’t make what matters to us known, and elect those with similar values while we still can, we will find ourselves in a significantly more exhausting fight with a governing body that neglects to hear the voices of its constituents. Our collective votes truly have the power to care for us in the years to come. See you at the polls.

For all the information you need to vote and make your vote matter for the Nov. 6 election, visit www.asklearnvote.org.

Sara Finger is the founder and executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, which coordinates the 2018 Women Vote – Wisconsin Wins campaign.

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