On November 5, 2019, 49,000 local and state elections will happen in 34 states across the country. Don't be surprised if you weren't aware of this. With voter suppression on the rise, it's become increasingly difficult for U.S. citizens—specifically minorities and people of color—to register to vote, let alone discover key information like election dates and who's running for what position. For women, this poses dangerous consequences, especially when it comes to political issues that directly affect us, including our reproductive freedom. Thankfully, with the help of #VOTEPROCHOICE—a national political organizing project dedicated to electing pro-choice candidates—women don't have to remain uninformed.
Founded in March 2016 by technologist, civic entrepreneur, and feminist activist Heidi Sieck, #VOTEPROCHOICE provides voters with a list of pro-choice candidates for local, statewide, and national elections all the way down the ballot. Right now, the organization is focused on the November 5 polls. That day, elections for school board members will determine who decides how our children are taught about reproductive health; and in states including Mississippi and Louisiana, governor races will decide who does or doesn't sign laws that could effectively shut down abortion clinics. These elections may not get as much media attention as the rapidly-approaching 2020 presidential election, but they do set a precedent for how our democracy treats women. "Over 82 percent of voters in America do not want Roe v. Wade overturned," says Sieck. "So why in the hell do we have these anti-choice people representing us? That’s the problem we’re trying to solve."
"We know from our research and the down-ballot report that every single race on the ballot matters when it comes to reproductive freedom," continues Sieck, who was one of the first people arrested during the Kavanaugh hearings last September. "People don’t realize that things like buffer zones for abortion clinics and protesters are passed at the city council level."
In addition to the statewide elections being held in New Jersey, Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia, and Louisiana (note that Louisiana's election date is November 16, not November 5), critical municipal, judicial, sheriff, public defender, and district attorney races are occurring.
To use #VOTEPROCHOICE's progressive voting tool in your upcoming election, simply head over to #VOTEPROCHOICE, type in your address in the toolbox, and click "get started." You'll see a full list of candidates endorsed by progressive organizations like EMILY's List and NARAL highlighted with a green check mark. Save your choices to create a mobile-friendly sample ballot to download and bring with you to the polls.
In the meantime, MarieClaire.com partnered with #VOTEPROCHOICE to highlight key races in each of the 34 states, below. Scroll through to find out who has women's reproductive freedoms at heart. Remember their names when you vote on November 5.
Alicia Hughes-Skandijs, Juneau City and Borough Assembly, District 1
Nikki Lee Tuscon, City Council, Ward 4
Amanda Deegan, Bentonville School District, Zone 4
Suzy Loftus, San Francisco District Attorney
Tay Anderson, Denver Public School Board
Marilyn Moore, Mayor of Bridgeport, CT
Deborah Figgs-Sanders, St. Petersburg City Council, District 5
Van Johnson, Mayor of Savannah, GA
Lauren McLean, Mayor of Boise
Alison ‘Ali’ Brown, Indianapolis City-County Council, District 5
Alexandra Dermody, Davenport City Council, 7th Ward
Sheri Donahue, State Auditor
Mandie Landry, State House of Representatives, District 91
Angela Okafor, Bangor City Council
Monique Ashton, Rockville City Council
Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor-At Large
Kat Bruner James, Ferndale City Council
Kim Sandberg, Golden Valley Council
Jennifer Riley Collins, Attorney General
Trish Gunby, HD-99 (Special Election)
Gwen Jones, Missoula City Council, Ward 3
Joyce Craig, Mayor of Manchester
Dr. Lisa Bhimani and Darcy Draeger, NJ State Assembly, District 25
Tessa Abeyta Stuve, Las Cruces City Council, District 2
Elizabeth Smith, Mount Pleasant Town Justice
Vi Lyles, Mayor of Charlotte
Carrie Hartman, Maumee City Council
Olivia ‘Liv’ Bennett, Allegheny County Council, District 13
Brenda Corley, Mount Pleasant Town Council
Amelia Parker, Knoxville City Council At-Large (Seat C)
Eliz Markowitz, Texas House, District 28
Sophia Hawes-Tingey, Midvale City Council, District 2
Sheila Bynum-Colman, VA House of Delegates, District 66
Navarra Carr, Port Angeles City Council, Position 6
To create your full customized pro-choice ballot, head on over to #VOTEPROCHOICE.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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