Ahead of the 2020 election, we’re showing you why it’s important to exercise your 26th amendment right to make the changes you want to see in your community, state and country — and introducing you to the young politicians working to make Arkansas a better place.
Meet 6 Young Politicians Working
To Make Arkansas a Better Place
Get to Know Your Lawmakers
Here’s a guide to the people who have been elected to represent you.
Each state in the U.S. elects two senators, regardless of the state’s population. Senators serve six-year terms with staggered elections and serve in the U.S. Senate.
The U.S. is divided into 435 congressional districts, each with a population of about 710,000 individuals. Each district elects a representative to the House of Representatives for a two-year term. Representatives are also called congressmen/congresswomen. Arkansas has four representatives serving four districts.
Arkansas State Executive Offices
Each state has its own elected leadership ranging from governor and lieutenant governor to state auditor and attorney general. Other positions, such as board members and commissioners, are appointed by the governor. Arkansas has 13 state executive offices.
DID YOU KNOW? U.S. senators are elected to six-year terms, unless a special election is needed to replace a U.S. senator during the six-year term. Meanwhile, a state senator is a member of one of the 49 state legislative chambers called state senates. Arkansas has 35 seats in the state senate.
How to Cast Your Vote in Arkansas
Here’s your step-by-step guide to getting registered and casting your vote!
1. Getting Started
Are you eligible?
First things first — make sure you meet these voting requirements:
1. You must be 18 or older on or before the next election.
2. You must be a U.S. citizen and an Arkansas resident.
3. You must register to vote at least 30 days before the election.
2. Time to register!
Complete a voter registration form.
Now that you’ve got all your ducks in a row, it’s time to register to vote. Make sure to have your voter registration form (download a PDF at SoS.Arkansas.gov) turned in at least 30 days before the election. If you are mailing the voter registration application, it must be postmarked by that date.
3. Go Vote!
Mark your calendar for Election Day.
The 2020 United States Presidential Election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. If this will be your first election, be sure to check out Arkansas Polling Place Locator to find where you can cast your vote on election day!
DID YOU KNOW? Sometimes, deciding who to vote for and how to vote on proposed laws can be the hardest part of the process. Visit VoteSmart.org for info on an election’s candidates and ballot issues.
Activism: Make An Impact
From the American Revolution to the Little Rock Nine, young generations have spurred change throughout history. This fighter spirit is the first step toward finding a solution to the world’s flaws.
There are opportunities to speak your truth and make an impact on campus, in your region and even on a national level. We can’t wait for you to make your voice heard.
Tips for Successful Activism (And How Helping Others Can Help You)
1. Show your passion.
The goal of pursuing a passion through activism is to support a movement and give a voice to those that society has muted. However, getting involved can also benefit you! When you translate your activism involvement into an application or resume, you need to write more than just the facts. Don’t be afraid to show why this cause meant something to you and how your role contributed to the movement as a whole.
2. Be genuine.
On the flip side, you shouldn’t fake passion for a cause that’s not for you. Some forms of activism look cooler on Instagram and some will bring you lots of friends. While community and support are important to activism, you only hurt yourself when you pursue a path that doesn’t mean much to you. Besides, others can tell when your heart isn’t entirely in your cause.
3. Keep it going.
Find your passion and get involved. Raise awareness through a social media campaign or organize a peaceful protest or march. If your cause needs financial help, start a fundraiser. Tackling a social issue may feel daunting, but you have more power than you realize. Use your education to give yourself the tools you need and then leave the world a better place in your wake.
Resources to Get Involved with ANY Movement at ANY Level
1. National: Sierra Club
2. State: Arkansas Environmental Federation
3. Community: Heifer International
4. Campus: Southern Arkansas University’s Collegiate FFA Group
Women’s Rights & Health
1. National: National Women’s Health Network
2. State: Women’s Foundation Arkansas
3. Community: Local Planned Parenthood
4. Campus: Hendrix College’s Students Advocating Gender Equality (SAGE) Organization
Hunger & Homelessness
1. National: The Hunger Project
2. State: Arkansas Foodbank
3. Community: Our House Shelter
4. Campus: University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College Food Pantry
1. National: Human Rights Campaign
2. State: ACLU of Arkansas
3. Community: Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality
4. Campus: The Alliance at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock
1. National: National Alliance on Mental Illness
2. State: Mental Health Council of Arkansas
3. Community: Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare
4. Campus: Active Minds at Arkansas State University
Make an Impact!
Discover The Power of Casting Your Ballot
The Results Are In
In 2016, 20.9% of registered Arkansas voters were ages 18 to 29. That’s 457,075 voters!*
In 2016, almost half (45.9%) of Arkansas voters were under the age of 45.*
2,259,350 Arkansans are of voting age.*
Nationally, voter turnout rates among all voting groups were higher in the November 2018 midterm elections than they were in 2014.
53.4% of the citizen voting-age population voted in 2018, the highest midterm turnout in four decades.**
Around 138 million Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election. However, those 138 million Americans only make up 58.1% of the country’s voting-eligible population (citizens over 18).**
Almost 92 million eligible Americans did not vote in the 2016 presidential election.†
*According to the United States Census Bureau
**According to the United States Elections Project
†According to the Center for American Progress
As you prepare for the 2020 election, it’s important to recognize the importance of voting. Voting allows the nation’s citizens to elect leaders who are responsive to and reflective of the communities they serve. Voters can also use their power to diversify government bodies so that they fairly represent the people.
In a 2018 Pew Research survey, 74% of respondents ranked election participation as a key determinant of good citizenship — above paying taxes and following the law. After a record low turnout in 2014, voter turnout significantly increased in 2018, and it was largely due to young voters showing up to make their voices heard.
Young voters have driven change on a local, state and national level, and we have no doubt that your generation will do the same. We’ve compiled the resources you need to get you started, so do your research, form an opinion and make your voice heard. Your vote matters more than you know. Besides, our democracy depends on it.
5 Things to Consider When Researching Candidates to Vote for
1. Delve into their platforms. How do they prioritize the country’s most pressing needs?
2. Research their positions on key issues. Which candidate’s views most align with your own?
3. Learn about their leadership skills. After all, they will be leading our country!
4. Watch the debates. Watching debates is an easy way to learn about the candidates’ views while also getting a feel for who they are through their presentation and body language.
5. Decide what you’d like to see changed in our country. Taking promises with a grain of salt, which candidates seem like they will get the job done?
DID YOU KNOW?
There are websites dedicated to helping the voting-eligible population answer the same questions you might have. From polling locations to local opinion, check out these unbiased online resources to find out everything you know before casting your vote in Arkansas.
Arkansas Secretary of State
VoterView.org offers information on registration, polling locations and absentee ballots.
Cooperative Extension Service for Arkansas
UAEX.org’s voter education resources feature great, nonpartisan voter guides by experts.
The National Conference of State Legislatures
Election Resources has helpful information about all the ins and outs of the voting process.
The Arkansas Poll
University of Arkansas professor Janine Parry has collected 20 years of data on a lot of pressing issues in Arkansas.