A Guide to Voting Pro-Choice in the 2019 U.S. Elections

More than 30 states across the country will be holding elections on November 5.

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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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab)—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 (opens in new tab). 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."

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"We know from our research and the down-ballot report (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) and NARAL (opens in new tab) 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.

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Alaska

Alicia Hughes-Skandijs, Juneau City and Borough Assembly, District 1

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Arizona

Nikki Lee Tuscon, City Council, Ward 4

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Arkansas

Amanda Deegan, Bentonville School District, Zone 4

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California

Suzy Loftus, San Francisco District Attorney

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Colorado

Tay Anderson, Denver Public School Board

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Connecticut

Marilyn Moore, Mayor of Bridgeport, CT

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Florida

Deborah Figgs-Sanders, St. Petersburg City Council, District 5

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Georgia

Van Johnson, Mayor of Savannah, GA

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Idaho

Lauren McLean, Mayor of Boise

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Indiana

Alison ‘Ali’ Brown, Indianapolis City-County Council, District 5

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Iowa

Alexandra Dermody, Davenport City Council, 7th Ward

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Kentucky

Sheri Donahue, State Auditor

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Louisiana

Mandie Landry, State House of Representatives, District 91

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Maine

Angela Okafor, Bangor City Council

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Maryland

Monique Ashton, Rockville City Council

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Massachusetts

Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor-At Large

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Michigan

Kat Bruner James, Ferndale City Council

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Minnesota

Kim Sandberg, Golden Valley Council

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Mississippi

Jennifer Riley Collins, Attorney General

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Missouri

Trish Gunby, HD-99 (Special Election)

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Montana

Gwen Jones, Missoula City Council, Ward 3

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New Hampshire

Joyce Craig, Mayor of Manchester

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New Jersey

Dr. Lisa Bhimani and Darcy Draeger, NJ State Assembly, District 25

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New Mexico

Tessa Abeyta Stuve, Las Cruces City Council, District 2

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New York

Elizabeth Smith, Mount Pleasant Town Justice

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North Carolina

Vi Lyles, Mayor of Charlotte

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Ohio

Carrie Hartman, Maumee City Council

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Pennsylvania

Olivia ‘Liv’ Bennett, Allegheny County Council, District 13

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South Carolina

Brenda Corley, Mount Pleasant Town Council

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Tennessee

Amelia Parker, Knoxville City Council At-Large (Seat C)

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Texas

Eliz Markowitz, Texas House, District 28

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Utah

Sophia Hawes-Tingey, Midvale City Council, District 2

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Virginia

Sheila Bynum-Colman, VA House of Delegates, District 66

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Washington

Navarra Carr, Port Angeles City Council, Position 6

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To create your full customized pro-choice ballot, head on over to #VOTEPROCHOICE (opens in new tab).

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Rachel Epstein is an editor at Marie Claire, where she writes and edits culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also manages the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game, finding a new coffee shop, or analyzing your cousin's birth chart—in no particular order.