Why You Should Vote in the Midterms
Have you heard about the most glamorous event of 2018? It’s bigger than the Oscars, or the Super Bowl, or all the other things I usually talk and think and tweet about. It’s the midterm elections on November 6, and it’s the selfie opp of the year.
At the last midterm elections, in 2014, roughly 12 percent of millennials showed up to vote. That’s a staggeringly low figure. But it prompted me to have an honest conversation with myself: I’ve skipped elections in the past, and so have many of my friends. Why? Election Day comes along, and for one reason or another, voting isn’t a priority. Plus, you can’t ignore the fact that the midterms aren’t … sexy. They sound and feel like homework.
That’s why my friends at Funny or Die and I created Glam Up the Midterms, a campaign to make sure that people, especially young people, have the information they need in order to vote — and then actually vote. We’re on the road visiting battleground states and encouraging people to register to vote because passion is great, marching is great, protests are great. It all has meaning. But nothing is as meaningful as actually, well, voting.
After the California primaries, I asked my Twitter followers, “If you didn’t vote yesterday, why not? What can we do to make this easier?” A lot of the responses were as simple as, “I didn’t know where to go.”
So let’s clear some things up: First of all, it’s really easy to figure out your polling place. On HeadCount.org and Vote411.org, you literally type in your address and they tell you where to go. Most times I’ve voted, I’ve waltzed right in, and it took less than 20 minutes. But if you’re concerned about not being able to vote on Election Day itself, remember that many states have early voting, where you can go in the weeks leading up to November 6 and your vote will count just the same.
Another thing: You don’t have to vote in every race on the ballot. If there’s a big race in which you feel you know the main candidates but don’t feel comfortable voting in a smaller race you know less about, you can leave blanks. I’m not saying that’s ideal, but it’s better than not voting at all. Every vote really does count, and that’s especially true this year, when many of the races may be extremely close.
So how do you turn up the glam? Everyone knows the hottest accessory of the moment is the “I voted” sticker. It’s a very simple way to make yourself look like you did the right thing, and everyone’s going to think you’re so politically engaged.
Voting usually happens at one of the less glamorous locations in your town — like a school gym or community center — but that’s no reason not to turn it into what could be a major social-media moment. Priorities, people. If you’re not going to do it for democracy, then at least do it for Instagram!
My tactic: Imagine what Mariah Carey would wear to go voting. Then wear that. My dream would be to watch Mariah roll up to her polling place in a long, low-cut sequined evening gown, teetering on high heels (although something tells me she’s more an absentee-ballot kind of gal).
The best way to glam up elections is to make voting a group activity. Text a friend right now and make a plan to go stand in line together, vote, and then toast yourselves with a nice lunch and cocktails and talk shit about your other friends. It could also be a fun first date — or really more of a second date. Regardless of your political party, you can immediately go have sex after voting. That’s an option. I know it’s on a Tuesday, so people have to work and stuff, but you’ve got a lunch hour, and you can cram a lot into an hour.
The point is that glamour needs to be redefined, and part of being an exciting, relevant person is to engage with what’s happening in the world right now. It’s a divisive, chaotic political moment, but there are also more women, people of color, and young people running for all levels of office than ever before. There are candidates out there who want to fight for you. Use your voice when it really counts, and that’s on Election Day.
For more stories like this, pick up the November issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Oct. 12.