As the 2020 election nears, there is much at stake for people living with HIV and the communities most impacted by the epidemic. POZ and Positive Women’s Network–USA (PWN-USA) encourage everyone to get involved this election cycle and to cast their vote. Below are tips compiled from #PWNVotes Election Toolkit on how to effectively leverage your vote and engage your community this election year!
Part 1: Prepare to Vote
Our community must be ready to vote before going to the polls! Here are some tips to make sure you and your folks are prepared for Election Day:
- Find out the rules and requirements for voting in your state.
- Register to vote!
- Help others get registered to vote.
- Make voting more accessible.
- Know your rights!
- Stay safe while voting. (Most states offer privacy programs to protect survivors of domestic violence.)
- If you have questions about voting, get answers.
Part 2: Do Your Research
State and local elections can have a significant impact on whose interests are represented and how resources are distributed. Here are some ways to research the candidates and issues in your district:
- Find out which candidates are running in your district.
- Sign up for your local candidates’ newsletters.
- Find info on candidates or sample ballots for elections taking place in your area.
- Check out candidate profiles.
- Learn how to assess candidates.
- Find out how candidates and ballot measures will affect your community.
- Engage with candidates at your local events.
Part 3: Elevate the Issues
The election cycle is an invaluable opportunity to learn where candidates stand on the issues. Here are some strategies for engaging with candidates and elevating the issues that matter to you:
- Invite candidates to your clinic, agency or organization.
- Set up meetings with candidates.
- Use questionnaires to assess candidates.
- Attend candidate forums.
- Go bird-dogging! (This tactic involves following a candidate and asking questions to get attention for your cause or issue.)
Part 4: Get Out the Vote
The right to vote only matters if we exercise it! Showing up at the polls and encouraging others to do so are critical ways to use your voice during Election 2020. Here are ways to get out the vote:
- Find out about early voting and voting by mail in your state.
- Know where and when to go and what to bring with you on Election Day.
- Volunteer as a poll worker.
- Spread the word and encourage others to vote.
- Know your rights.
- Use a provisional ballot if necessary.
- Be ready to address any problems or questions that arise on Election Day.
Part 5: Organize for Power
POZ and PWN-USA are committed to making sure the voices, perspectives and priorities of people living with HIV are represented during the 2020 election cycle. For links to resources and additional information, visit pwn-usa.org/pwnvotes/.
Source: Adapted with permission from #PWNVotes Election Toolkit.
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