First Time Voters: What You Need to Know to Get Involved

At Triage Cancer, we provide many resources to help you become an empowered and informed advocate for the cancer community. Today, we’re giving first-time voters information and tips on participating in upcoming elections, so you can make an impact! While Primary Elections might be over in your state, the general election in November is right around the corner and it’s never too late to advocate.

On our Advocacy Resources page, we point you to many helpful links, including how to contact your elected officials (including on social media), how to find federal legislative information, and we even provide easy-to-read Quick Guides on cancer advocacy topics. However, a key way to be an effective advocate for the cancer community is voting. First-time voters make up a large portion of the overall voting population and that’s why we want to make sure that people understand how to vote.

If you’ve never voted before, here is some information you should know:

Elections: Primaries, Generals, and Mid-Terms

By August, the majority of the Primary Elections will have ended (with the exception of a few states). Primary elections are a time for voters to help determine the final candidates for the General Election. You can find a list of each state’s Primary Election dates here. The General Election is when a candidate gets elected into office (such as President of the United States); however, this is also when federal, state, and local representatives are elected. General Elections for President of the United States happen every four years. Mid-Term Elections are for voters to elect other federal, state, and local offices. These also happen every four years, but two years into a President’s four-year term of office.

It is also important to not only pay attention to federal elections, when we are electing the President or Members of Congress, but to also pay attention to your state and local elections. There is a lot that happens legislatively at the local level that can impact the cancer community.

How to Vote:

The first step that first-time voters should take is to register to vote. Each state has different requirements for voters, but most states allow you to vote by mail, online, or in-person. For a list of where to register online for each state, go here.

This fantastic resource, from Accredited Schools Online, breaks down everything first-time voters need to know: Navigating the Election Process for Students & First Time Voters.

Advocating for the Cancer Community

There are many issues that elected officials have control over, which can impact the cancer community. For example, your protection against discrimination in the workplace, access to taking time off, access to health insurance coverage, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, protections against genetic discrimination, access to clinical trials, and many other benefits and protections are all routed in laws passed by elected officials or enforced by their agencies.

Before you vote, make sure to ask your elected officials and candidates what their positions are on issues that matter to you.

Be sure to check our blog regularly, where we do our best to keep you updated on legislative issues that may impact the cancer community, like this blog on the CCPC Act.

For more information on legislative issues impacting the cancer community, watch our webinar on 7/12, Hot Topics in the Law. You can register for that here.

To learn more about legislative advocacy, watch our webinar “Hot Topics in the Law” on July 12th! Register here: http://triagecancer.org/webinar-reg-hot-topics

 

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Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org