Each voice issues and each vote counts: We should vote for our well being this November

September 02, 2022

8 min learn

Kuwahara studies serving as nationwide vice chair of the American Medical Ladies’s Affiliation’s Coverage and Advocacy Committee and nationwide vice chair of Docs for America’s Entry to Inexpensive Care Impression Space, and beforehand served as a coverage fellow on the Affiliation of Asian Pacific Group Well being Organizations, however the views expressed on this article are totally her personal.

We’re simply over 2 months away from the Nov. 8 election, and now’s the time to make sure that each eligible individual in our nation is registered to vote, is prepared and dedicated to casting their poll and has the helps wanted to vote.

As we transfer from Civic Well being Month in August into the start of September, it is crucial for each eligible individual to examine their voter registration standing, register to vote and make a plan to vote.

Rita K. Kuwahara, MD, MIH

Though 2022 is just not a presidential election yr, we can not sit this election out. We should vote for our well being, and our vote is our voice.

Dates to request absentee ballots are sometimes in September and October, and voter registration and absentee poll request deadlines will be as early as October, relying on the state, so now’s the time for our sufferers and us to register to vote and request an absentee poll, if wanted.

Not solely will we be voting for our members of Congress within the upcoming November election, which is able to decide the management of the U.S. Home of Representatives and U.S. Senate, however we can even be voting for our state and native elected officers, together with governors, state delegates, state Supreme Court docket justices, state attorneys common, mayors, metropolis council members, native board members and poll measures.

Native and state elections are extraordinarily essential, and we should have our voices and the voices of our sufferers heard on the poll field.

Our vote on this election might decide entry to reproductive well being care, whether or not youngsters have ongoing entry to free meals at public colleges, whether or not some states increase Medicaid, the general public well being response to COVID-19 and monkeypox, and different essential points that tackle the social determinants of well being and have an effect on well being outcomes.

Latest elections have proven us that each vote actually does matter. There are a number of examples of elections decided by only a handful of votes, and it’s important that everybody eligible to vote truly casts their ballots within the November midterm election.

As physicians, we should always not solely be sure that our eligible sufferers are registered to vote, however that we ourselves are registered to vote and have a transparent plan for once we will vote.

Physicians have traditionally been much less prone to vote than the overall inhabitants. Though current elections might have proven a regularly growing development in doctor voter turnout, work schedule conflicts and decrease voter registration charges amongst physicians symbolize a few of the biggest impediments to doctor voting.

With the beginning of a brand new educational yr, many college students and trainees have moved to new cities and states, and now’s the time to make sure that each eligible individual is registered to vote and has all of the instruments wanted to forged their poll by election day.

Guidelines concerning absentee poll request and submission deadlines and drop off places, early voting instances and places, voter ID legal guidelines and voter registration deadlines and eligibility are regularly altering, and it’s important for each individual to know what the present legal guidelines are of their state in order that they’re prepared and in a position to vote and won’t be turned away on election day for not assembly all of the voting necessities.

Voter sources and knowledge

Campus Vote Project is a wonderful useful resource to search for present voting legal guidelines and deadlines by state, which is especially useful for people who’ve just lately moved to a brand new state, akin to college students, trainees, physicians beginning new jobs, and any college, workers or sufferers who’ve just lately relocated. This useful resource offers voter registration deadlines and election dates, hyperlinks to official election web sites, info on IDs wanted to register and/or vote, the place and how one can vote, and different continuously requested questions.

Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote, or APIAVote, additionally lets you search for essential voting info and first and common election voter registration and absentee poll deadlines by state.

Info on absentee poll request and submission deadlines and state poll trackers are available here on Vote.org.

Vot-ER is another helpful resource that permits well being professionals to request a badge with a QR code that can be utilized to rapidly examine voter registration standing, register an individual to vote, and/or request an absentee poll, together with for any sufferers, college students, trainees, colleagues or different eligible people desirous to vote.

Even when an individual has beforehand registered to vote of their present jurisdiction, it’s important to examine their voter registration standing as quickly as attainable to make sure their registration is lively and in case there are issues with their registration, or their names have been faraway from the listing of registered voters, whereas there may be nonetheless time to right this.

As well as, if an individual has just lately moved to a brand new tackle, even when nonetheless in the identical state, it is very important register to vote at their new tackle and decide at which polling location they might want to vote, which can rely on the date of their transfer.

Notably when registering sufferers to vote, it’s important to find out if people could also be newly eligible to vote.

For instance, these turning 18 years previous to the election and people just lately naturalized as U.S. residents ought to register to vote. As well as, as a result of continuously altering insurance policies, in sure states, particular populations, akin to previously incarcerated people now not in jail, could also be newly eligible to vote within the upcoming elections, however it is very important often examine state board of elections web sites to find out updates to voter eligibility.

Hyperlinks to particular state board of elections web sites will be discovered here.

Most significantly, we should empower each eligible individual, together with our sufferers, our colleagues and ourselves, to vote within the upcoming election, and we should normalize asking whether or not our sufferers and colleagues are registered to vote and provide help with voter registration, if wanted.

Now could be the time to make sure that we and our sufferers know when and the place we are able to vote and choose the date once we will vote, if dwelling in a state with early voting. As physicians, we’re busy and sometimes lack management of our schedules. Equally, a lot of our sufferers is probably not ready to simply take time to vote as a result of work and household obligations.

Absentee ballots symbolize one choice to vote by mail and keep away from having to take the time to vote in individual, however states differ in who can and beneath what circumstances an individual might request an absentee poll. It’s, due to this fact, very important that we take the time now to request an absentee poll for ourselves or present our sufferers how to do that, if in a state the place that is an possibility, and decide when and how one can return the absentee poll, so that every of our voices is heard by means of our vote.

Alternatively, if we or our sufferers are planning to vote in individual, now’s the time to request any wanted day without work to vote, make transportation preparations, prepare for little one care and plan for some other logistics in an effort to guarantee the mandatory helps are in place to vote on election day, or decide if we could possibly vote throughout a scheduled break day from work throughout the early voting interval if we’re in a state that permits early voting.

As well as, early voting places are sometimes totally different from assigned election day polling places and voting hours can fluctuate, so it is crucial that we and our sufferers know the place we might want to go and at what time, if planning to vote early or on election day.

Voting rights

Additionally it is important that we be sure that our sufferers know their rights and know that they can’t be turned away from voting in the event that they arrive previous to polls closing and are in line to vote if there are lengthy election day voting strains.

For people with issue studying or writing English, federal legislation permits in-person help on the polling location from a member of the family, good friend or different individual of the person’s selection, so long as it’s not their employer or agent of their employer or union. Additionally, it is very important let our sufferers know that that is allowed to eradicate language obstacles to voting and enhance voter participation in communities, akin to within the Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander neighborhood, which have traditionally had low voter turnout as a result of language obstacles.

We also needs to share with our sufferers the contact info for nonpartisan election safety hotline help in the event that they run into issues on the polls when coming to vote, which is offered in English and different choose languages:

  • English, 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683);
  • Spanish, 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682);
  • Arabic, 1-844-YALLA-US (1-844-925-5287); and
  • Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Vietnamese: 1-888-API-VOTE (1-888-274-8683).

Additional, beneath the Voting Rights Act, choose counties in the US are required to offer bilingual voting supplies and extra language help at polling places inside these counties, and we should inform our sufferers of those accessible sources to empower each eligible individual to vote no matter English proficiency.

Here is a list of counties required to offer bilingual voting supplies in choose languages.

We should additionally be sure that our older sufferers and our sufferers with disabilities know that, beneath federal legislation, polling websites should be absolutely accessible to people with disabilities and older adults, and that our sufferers requiring lodging are empowered to request the providers they should allow them to vote.

Voting represents energy, and civic engagement is important to our well being. It’s now extra essential than ever to make sure that every of our voices is heard by means of our vote and that we encourage full participation of our eligible sufferers, colleagues and communities within the upcoming election.

The outcomes of this election will rely on voter turnout, and we should do every part in our energy to guarantee that each eligible individual in our nation workout routines their proper to vote in November.

The actions that we take now to register each eligible individual to vote, to make concrete plans outlining when, the place and the way we are going to vote, to eradicate obstacles to voting that we and our sufferers face, and to empower our sufferers and ourselves to know our rights and vote in November will decide the election outcomes and can straight affect our sufferers’ and our nation’s well being.

Voting is our proper and nobody who’s eligible to vote ought to go up the chance to have their voices heard on the poll field as a result of each vote actually does matter, and we should always be sure that we and all of our eligible sufferers, colleagues, college students and trainees vote within the Nov. 8, 2022, election.

Making a Voting Plan

1. I’ll examine my voter registration standing and/or register to vote on today: ____________________.

2. I plan to vote:

[ ] in individual or

[ ] by absentee poll

If I’m voting in individual, I’ll vote on today: _________________ presently: _____________ at this location: ____________________________________, and I’ve transportation to this location, may have a suitable type of identification with me if IDs are required, and have requested day without work to vote presently, or that is my break day.

If I’m voting by absentee poll, I’ll request my absentee poll on today: ______________ and can return my absentee poll on today: ________________________, and I plan to return my absentee poll utilizing this technique: _______________________________________.



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