You’ve been hearing about the election for months. Maybe you’ve already registered to vote (if not, no worries, you can register at the polls). All that’s left is to wake up next Tuesday morning and head to your local polling place (need help finding it?)
That’s right, next Tuesday, Nov. 6, is Election Day. For many of you, this is the first time you’ll be able to vote. As a new voter, you can bring the issues that matter most to you and your family right into the booth. When you vote, you can be a voice for kids.
How does that work?
Making sure that elected officials help protect and promote children’s health means that we need to participate in the democratic process and speak up for the issues that matter to us. Voting is a critically important part of this advocacy. Your vote matters and the Children’s Advocacy and Health Policy department can help by keeping you up to date on some of the most important policies that affect kids’ health.
Why do young advocates matter?
Last year, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics saw more than 120,000 children and teens. That’s more than the entire city of Rochester. Unfortunately, the majority of them can’t vote. They can’t cast a ballot for the person they think will protect them, and you, the most. But you can.
You are the one with the experience, who knows what’s important to children who are sick or to the family of someone who is. Use this opportunity to advocate for all those who can’t advocate for themselves.
And every vote counts. In fact, during the 2010 election, three races in Minnesota were decided by fewer than 100 votes. If 100 Children’s patients were able to vote, it could have changed the result of the election.
So how do elections impact you?
Every year, our elected officials consider laws that directly affect you. In the last five years, laws regarding seatbelt use, concussion safety and smoking in restaurants have all been passed at the state level. Legislation at the federal level is also extremely important: in 2012 a bill that would help address drug shortages was passed into law. The impact of this law on kids’ health is big: many kids at Children’s depend on those drugs for life-saving treatments.
In addition, legislation is often considered that impacts the funding we receive to train doctors and nurses that care for our kids, as well as our ability to offer all the great programs we currently provide like the Arts and Healing program.
The Children’s Advocacy and Health Policy department has great information on all the issues that affect Children’s Hospital, from funding to training our doctors and nurses to childhood obesity initiatives.
Get ready to vote
Now it’s time for you to go out and make a difference. Here are some resources that will hopefully make the voting process easy and seamless for you:
- Where do I vote? This information will help you locate your polling place.
- How do I register to vote? If you haven’t already done so, you can register to vote on Election Day.
- Where do I find information about candidates? The Minnesota Secretary of State website provides information on the candidates running for office in 2012 ballot.
Continue to be a voice for children
After Election Day, you can stay engaged by joining Children’s Advocacy Network. We make being informed easy: You’ll get an alert whenever your involvement can make a difference! You’ll also get periodic updates on progress on issues and how your elected officials voted on measures before them.
Wishing you the best of luck,
The whole Advocacy and Health Policy team: Anna Youngerman, Kelly Wolfe, Katie Rojas-Jahn and Julia Miller