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How to Vote Quickguide

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Quickguide

 

Use this Quickguide for easy access to the information and resources you need to vote. Let’s tell our representatives how important science is to the well-being of our country.

 

 

Political Parties

 

Get to know the policies of the political parties that govern your nation. In the U.S., the best informational sources for the two major parties are the websites of the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee. The Republican Party, known as the Grand Old Party or GOP, is known as the conservative party, while the Democrats are generally more liberal. Wikipedia offers a list of U.S. political parties, which includes the progressive Green Party and the far right Libertarian Party. The problems associated with the political process are outlined in my article soon to be published: “Scientists’ Guide to American Government” (Link Under Construction.)

 

GOP                          Democrats                          Green Party                        Libertarian Party

 

 

Municipal Politics

 

To get information about your municipal elections, check out the Ballotpedia website, and for U.S. mayor election results go to usmayors.org. You may find government and voting information on your town’s website. Find out when your city council holds meetings by visiting their website, which can be found easily by typing the name of your city and the words “city council” into your search engine, like Google, Bing or Yahoo. To find election dates and polling sites, you might have to search for the Board of Elections or Board of Election Commissioners online.

 

 

County Politics

 

Americans can find detailed information about their county government and elections on their county’s website.

 

 

vote

 

State Politics

 

For facts about your state government and elections, check the website of your secretary of state. Various sites with voting information, like vote.org, can be found by searching your state name and “vote” in a search engine like Google.

Term lengths and term limits for constitutional officers differ between states. All but two states hold gubernatorial elections every four years, and most governors have term limits, although some do not.

The state legislature is called Legislature, General Assembly Legislative Assembly or General Court. The body has an upper house, usually called the Senate, and a lower house, normally called the House of Representatives. There are ninety-nine legislative chambers with a total of over 7,000 state legislators. Only fifteen legislatures have term limits, most of them eight years. Term lengths for legislators are either two or four years, depending on the state. [1] [2] [3] [4] The majority of general elections are held on even years. Most state legislatures convene in January and session length varies among states.

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_U.S._state_governments
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_governments_of_the_United_States
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_legislature_(United_States)
[4] https://ballotpedia.org/State_legislative_elections,_2018

 

 

Congressional Politics

 

United States Constitution

 

Most of these laws created by Congress can be found in the United States Code.

There are 535 voting members of Congress who assemble in the Capitol Building in the nation’s capital city, Washington, D. C. The House of Representatives is comprised of 435 members and the Senate has 100 members. A new Congress meets every two years. The Constitution provides that Congress meet at least once each year and Congress generally meets during two sessions per term, convening in January and adjourning in December. They may also meet on other sessions,[1] but no house may meet outside of the Capitol without permission from the other house.

Much of the work of Congress is done in committees, which are normally open to the public. House and Senate reports are published and accessible in online databases.[2] [3] [4] The media covers hearings of special interest to the public.[5] Check this link for a committee meeting calendar.

The members of the House of Representatives serve a congressional district created by Congress according to population size as determined by the United States Census. This often incorporates gerrymandering, the manipulation of district boundaries to benefit the political party in power. Members of Congress are elected in general elections in November of every even-numbered year. Two senators represent each of the fifty states. Senators serve six year terms, so 33 senatorial seats are contested every two years. Special elections are held to fulfill the remainder of a term when a senator does not complete the six-year term due to resignation, expulsion or death.[6]

Democratically governed countries must have informed voters in order to operate. Otherwise, the forces of corruption and tyranny usurp power from the citizens and do great injury to the people to profit themselves. Educate yourself about congressional candidates and their interests by checking the websites of Ballotpedia, Vote Smart, The Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org) and the National Institute on Money in State Politics (followthemoney.org).

On November 6, 2018, the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate are up for re-election. Only you, the voter, can ensure that Congress bases its laws on science and universal human rights. Mark your calendar, register and vote.

 

[1] https://www.senate.gov/general/Features/Sessions.htm
[2] https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record
[3] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=CHRG
[4] https://www.archives.gov/congress/hearings.html
[5] https://www.c-span.org/congress/
[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress

 

 

poster

Women’s right to vote poster, 1915. Poster by Henry “Hy” Mayer, restored by Adam Cuerden, public domain/CC0.

 

Presidential Politics

 

The president can make law with presidential proclamations [1] [2] and executive orders. [3] [4]

The presidential elections are held once every four years on the first Tuesday after November 1 and the term limit is eight years. Presidential campaigns begin in time to influence primary elections, wherein the major political parties select choice candidates to compete in the party’s national nominating convention, where the party’s nominee for president is chosen. Presidential candidates from the different parties then enter the presidential election and normally hold public debates.

Congress certifies the Electoral College vote in January. Finally, the official change of president and vice president is made at noon on January 20, Inauguration Day, in a joint session of the newly elected congress, which is a public ceremony.

 

How to Vote for President

How to Register to Vote

How to Vote – USA.gov

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_proclamation_(United_States)
[2] https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order
[4] https://www.federalregister.gov/executive-orders

 

 

Make Contact

 

Write and call your representatives. Check out 314 Action, a group that advocates for scientists running for public office. Advocate however you can. Here is a simple step-by-step plan, with easy instructions, to contact your representatives and make the most of your effort: [1]

 

  1. Look over the Legislation

SEARCH www.congress.gov

SEARCH www.govtrack.us

 

  1. Find Your Representative

SEARCH www.house.gov

 

  1. Write to Your Members of Congress

Write Online: Democracy.io

How to Write an Effective Letter to Your Representative

Thoughtco.com

Write Express

ACLU

Sample Congressional Letter

 

  1. Call Your Members of Congress

Contact Your Member of Congress – USA.gov

How to Have a Productive Phone Call With Your Legislator’s Office

 

  1. Meet Your Members of Congress Face to Face

How to Meet Your Representative Face to Face

 

  1. Contact your governor regarding signing a bill into law that was passed by the state legislature.

Contact Your Governor – USA.gov

 

  1. Write or Call the White House

www.whitehouse.gov

 

 

Subscribe to Science Abbey for email alerts for new blog articles, including the future article, “Scientists’ Guide to American Government.”

 

Read the longer version of this How to Vote Quickguide for more information: “Take Political Action for Science.”

 

[1] Advocacy Toolkit: https://www.asbmb.org/Advocacy/advocacy.aspx?id=13661

 

 

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