2020 is hard. Vote anyway.

2020 is hard. Vote anyway.

Maybe you’ve seen the internet meme “2020: one star out of four; do not recommend.” Or perhaps you’ve posted one of those photos captioned: “Taken in January when we didn’t know what was coming.”

There’s so much to abhor about 2020. It’s tempting to give in to despair. But I’ll give 2020 credit for one thing: record numbers of Americans are planning to vote on November 3. I hope you’ll join them.

I’m encouraged by the conversations I have with my 20-something kids and their friends who are planning to vote, some for the first time. I know some of those young voters will cast ballots for candidates or causes I oppose, but I’m crossing my fingers they’ll stay engaged beyond the 2020 election. We need their youth and enthusiasm to inject new perspective into our political deliberations.

Speaking of young people, the Kansas Secretary of State is recruiting high-schoolers aged 16 and older to serve as poll workers on Election Day. Working at the polls looks good on a college or job application and is a great way to foster civic engagement and inspire future voters and officeholders. Check out this link for more information.

I’m also pleasantly surprised by the number of political yard signs I see in our neighborhoods this year. As a former candidate, two-term school board member, and die-hard yard sign junkie, it seems more of our fellow citizens are taking the time to learn about their local, state, and national candidates and committing to voting for them. Right on.

I hope those neighbors will be just as engaged in next year’s school board and city commission elections. Municipal elections aren’t as “glamorous” as the state and national contests that draw so much of our attention, but they have the most direct impacts on our communities and our daily lives.

And don’t forget, 2020 is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. We women owe it to our foremothers to exercise the right for which they fought so hard. And while you’re at it, if you’re a woman and this year has inspired you, frustrated you, or made you angry, please plan to run for public office in 2021.

Please join me in salvaging something positive from 2020. Register to vote by October 13. Ask your neighbor about those yard signs. Learn about your local candidates’ positions on the issues. Make a plan to cast your ballot whether it’s in-person on November 3, in advance at your county courthouse, or by mail.

Ad Astra Per Aspera.