Why Down-ballot Voting Is Important
The designations “down-ballot” or “down-ticket” began to be used in the early 1980s and describe voting for candidates listed below the most prominent race on a ballot. In a presidential election, Senate and House seats along with state and local offices are considered down-ballot. Often the outcomes of these races are influenced by the turnout for the candidates at the top of the ballot.
Although down-ballot races may not receive as much coverage as the headliner, they are often just as important.
Candidates who are elected to local and county positions are the closest interaction most individuals have with their government. The policies set forth by these candidates can have an immediate impact on our lives.
For example, the District Attorney’s decision to prioritize violent and non-violent crimes differently could have a significant impact in your community. Likewise, a Sheriff’s plan to build trust in the community by investing in initiatives to increase diversity in the organization may have an immediate effect in the county.
At a state level, elected representatives and senators vote on legislation concerning the budget, education, energy, environment, taxes, and much more. They make decisions that can affect your individual rights, and other issues that directly impact our everyday lives.
Although our Governor can issue executive orders to protect communities against wildfires, we still benefit from Democratic state representatives and senators. They’re needed to back legislation dealing with important issues like global warming or to defend national clean car rules.
Usually done every 10 years after the census, redistricting involves drawing boundaries for electoral and political districts in a state to make sure districts include roughly the same number of people. Elected state leaders are in charge of this process.
In 2010, Republicans won state legislative and gubernatorial elections across the nation. This gave them disproportional control over the country’s redistricting process. According to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), Republican legislatures and governors used their power to redraw district boundaries to favor Republicans and ensure permanent majorities. This manipulation of district boundaries, or gerrymandering, diminished the voting impact of Democrats and minorities.
On a local, state and national level, it’s vital that we all vote down the ballot. You can visit the San Diego County Democratic website for a Democratic Voter Guide with endorsed candidates and propositions in your district. Also watch for local Go Team members who may be walking your neighborhood to provide door hanger guides directly to voters.
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