How to Make the Chicago Women's March to the Polls Count

women's march to the polls

Oh, Women’s March. How I wish you were more than once a year. Sometimes when I read the news, I think we should all be marching all the time, blocking traffic, wreaking havoc and chanting ourselves hoarse until someone DOES something already.

Maybe 2019?

This year’s theme was March to the Polls, and as fun as it was to stream the streets of Chicago 300,000 strong, we still have a lot more work to do between now and November, namely primary elections in March in Illinois.

Here are some quick and easy ways to make that March to the Polls actually count at the polls.

Make sure you’re registered to vote.

This page on Vote.org is helpfully titled “Am I registered to vote?” The whole process takes less than a minute, and the site will confirm your registration if you already are.

If you aren’t registered to vote, this site on USA.gov will walk you through the process. If you live in Cook County and would rather get local information instantly, click here.

Make sure you understand the ballot.

Ballotpedia has sample ballots loaded for the March 20, 2018, primary in Chicago. In addition to Congress, big-ticket statewide offices such as governor and attorney general, and Cook County’s top officials, voters here will also select members of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (wut?) and, yes, judges.

If the judicial races are the most baffling to you – who are these people? – the Chicago Bar Association does Judicial Evaluations ahead of every election, and the organization “urges voters to elect only candidates found Highly Qualified or Qualified for judge.”

For comprehensive candidate profiles and details on random referenda, I highly recommend BallotReady.org, a super-smart site based in Chicago. And two of the three co-founders are women.

Help a sister out.

Chances are, you either know a woman – or you are a woman – who’s running for office, has run for office or will soon be up for re-election or retention. I recently realized that I, alone, know:

Plus I keep hearing about amazing folks from friends and allies, including:

  • Sameena Mustafa, who’s running to to be the first woman to represent the state’s 5th District in Congress
  • Marie Newman, who’s running for Congress in the 3rd District
  • Andrea Raila, who’s running to be the first woman Cook County Assessor
  • Lauren A. Underwood, who’s running for Congress in the 14th District

We’ve got a full list of Chicago-area women running for office in 2018. If there are other candidates who should be listed, let me know!

Based on my conversations with these folks, they need as much support as we can give, whether it’s money, volunteer time or the occasional “Go get ’em, Girl” note. Or cocktails.

To learn more about women candidates all over the country and how you can run yourself someday, visit Emily’sList.org.

Don’t give up.

Perhaps the most important thing we can all do between now and November is to not give up. Not to let the bastards running the country beat us down into believing that our voices and votes don’t matter. Let’s keep marching to the polls as early and often as necessary.

(Yep, that’s me above in red. I can neither confirm nor deny that I yelled “KITTY!” at the top of my lungs when I spotted this sign. Thanks to the kind woman who let me pose with her even after all that.)

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Karen Hawkins is the Founder and Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine. She is a recovering mainstream media reporter and editor who wants to thank her former boss for naming the online magazine she's always wanted to start when he called her “Rebellious” for taking too many weekends off. When she isn't instigating a media Rebellion, she's thanking her lucky starlets she gets to do whatever she wants on weekends.