I Voted. Now What?

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I Voted. Now What?

by Maggi LeDuc
November 7, 2018
buttons that read "vote" and "I voted"

Step 1: Vote

Done.

Step 2: Keep the winners accountable.

Whether the candidate you voted for wins or not, it’s important to remember that you’re responsible for making sure your representatives follow through on their promises to make your community a safer/more equitable/generally better place to live. If you don’t like the things they’re doing (like if they’re trying to restrict your access to reproductive health care) then it’s your right to tell them that. And if you gave them your vote and they’re letting you down, let them know that too!

If you live in one of the 50 states, you have two senators and one Representative who represent you in Congress. If you live in DC or one of the US territories, you have one non-voting member of the House. To reach your elected officials, call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and they’ll connect you. Or you can look up the phone number for their local office to talk to someone in your state. For more on how easy it is to call your members of Congress, check out this guide.

While you have your phone in hand, don’t forget to call your local reps too! You can use the Open States project to look up who speaks for you at the state level. What they do may not make headlines across the country, but it’s more likely to impact your day to day. To get ideas about what to talk to your reps about, check out our state policy portal.

Step 3: Stay up to date on the issues.

Have your state’s policies increased or decreased access to birth control in the last year? Has anyone in your state received a federal grant for teen pregnancy prevention? Learn about hot-button issues that impact the country and your state, so you know exactly how to fight.

Make sure the information you’re getting is trustworthy though. Fake news isn’t new, but the internet has helped it spread farther, faster, and look more convincing. So when you click a link on Facebook or Twitter watch for these signs: look at the URL, read the quotes and look up their sources, and see if you can find other outlets writing about the topic.

Step 4: Make your voice heard IRL and online.

TwitterFacebook, and Instagram are powerful tools for using your newfound knowledge of current events to educate your network. Here's how to get started: 

Organizing an event IRL can get people in your life engaged in a cause you care about too. A postcard party is the perfect excuse to buy some wine and fancy cheese and invite your friends over! Once they get settled you can all learn about an issue and take action right away. Write to your representatives in the House and the Senate to let them know where you stand. Pro tip: Your postcard doesn’t have to be a complaint or request; saying thanks can be a powerful way to reinforce positions your representatives take!

No matter what you decide to do, know that helping more people gain access to the birth control method of their choice benefits everyone. If you’re looking for more ways to get active, visit the Power to Decide Activation Portal.

Step 5: Vote again in the next election.

Voting isn’t a one-time deal. You need to vote regularly in local, state, and federal elections to continue to hold your representatives accountable for their decisions. Each state has its own voter registration processes, so if you move remember to learn about new requirements and to re-register.