The COVID-19 crisis gives all of us a compelling reason to invest in our democracy. When could it be more important to do so than in times of national emergency? Here’s what you can do to make sure your voice is heard:
Be aware. By now, all Monroe County registered voters should have received an absentee ballot application. If you want to vote by mail with no excuses needed, this is your chance. You can also apply for your ballot online. You have until May 21 to get your application in.
You can still vote in person both on Election Day and during early voting. Early voting hours and polling locations can be found online. With the continued need for protection against COVID-19, your polling place may have changed, and new rules will be in place to minimize the chance for contagion.
Be informed. Several nonpartisan guides give candidate information and enable comparison between candidates on issues. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce provides a voter guide for local candidates, state legislature candidates and Indiana’s 9th Congressional District candidates.
The League of Women Voters voter website includes questions and answers on issues for federal and state races and links to candidate information for local races. Just go to the site, enter your address and, under “Find What’s On Your Ballot,” click "Explore Now."
In addition to these two resources, the Concerned Scientists at IU-Bloomington organization has responses from the 9th District congressional candidates on science topics.
Be counted. This is a census year. When you respond to the census, you’re helping to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads and other public services. In addition, census results are used to determine your political representation at all levels of government.
If you’re an IU student, have you counted yourself? Getting students to count themselves and their roommates at their off-campus apartments, not at their parents’ homes, has been challenging. The 2020 Census questionnaire is important and easy.
Ann Birch, President, League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County
Mary Morgan, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce