OPINION: Are you ready to vote for mayor?

BY PAIGE BEBUS | Guest Columnist | The Statesman You’ve probably had a representative from MPIRG come to one, two or all of your classes since school began asking you if you are registered to vote and telling you to get out and vote on November 3rd.

Maybe you filled out the form, maybe you still have it. If you were one of the many students that registered to vote here in Duluth, you may be wondering what happens next.

After receiving your Voter Identification Card in the mail from the St. Louis County Clerk, you are legally prepared to vote. But are you actually ready?

Since local elections are far less publicized than state and federal elections are, it can be a daunting task to get informed on the candidates and issues. That being said, it is incredibly important to do so and not as difficult as it may seem.

Local elections are often overlooked, especially by millennials, but serve an important purpose in our day-to-day life. Local elections can determine what kind of taxes there will be in the city, what new developments will be done and determine the curriculum for the public school districts.

Even though progress regarding these important functions relies on your participation in the political process, only 16.77 percent (including only 1.58 percent of registered UMD students living on campus) of people turned out for the city primary elections on September 15.

The main reason for this low voter turnout, especially in primary elections, is due to the fact that eligible voters do not feel informed enough to get involved.

Well, help is on the way. Here is a quick checklist to make sure you are ready on Election Day:

  1. Find your precinct. A quick Google search of “what is my precinct MN” will give you this information.
  2. Duluthmn.gov is the go-to resource to find a list of candidates that will be present on the ballot November 3.
  3. After finding out which candidates will be on your ballot, visit the websites of the candidates. If they do not have a website, another Google search will give you some information.
  4. Determine which candidates best represent your vision of Duluth.
  5. Find your polling place. The Minnesota Secretary of State has a tool for doing this quickly and easily.
  6. Make sure you have your Minnesota Voter Identification Card. If you do not have your ID and this is your first time voting in Minnesota, you will need to bring some form of identification (your UMD school ID works) as well as a proof of residence (a piece of mail with your name and address).

That’s all it takes. Now grab your computer, get informed and get out and vote on November 3.

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