Prepping for the polls: Next steps for young voters beyond registering to vote

the voice and vision of a new generation

Prepping for the polls: Next steps for young voters beyond registering to vote

September 24, 2020

200,000. The number of Americans who have died of COVID-19 under the leadership of President Donald Trump — a number that is disproportionately high for LGBTQ+ folks. 175. The number of attacks that The Trump Administration has made against the LGBTQ+ community in the last 1,342 days. 40. The number of days out from the most consequential election of our generation. 10%. The percentage of first-time voters within the 2020 electorate.

These numbers will be on my mind on Election Day, November 3, 2020. But before we get there, we should let these numbers motivate us to make our voting plans early in order to guarantee our voices can be heard at the polls.

In 2020, first-time voters make up 1/10 of the eligible electorate - and, together, Gen Z and Millennials make up the largest voting bloc in the country. As changemakers and activists, we have the opportunity to disrupt a cycle of generational disenfranchisement, discrimination, and dehumanization using the most powerful tool we have — our vote. Young people — our time is now. Born in the wake of the War on Terror, infiltrated by the inauguration of social media, and impacted heavily by climate change and recession, Gen Z was born on the ballot. 

Yesterday, on National Voter Registration Day, we asked you to register to vote or check your voter registration status. It’s more critical than ever for young people —e specially young LGBTQ+ folks — to ensure that our voice is counted in the electorate. With just 40 days out, now is the time to finalize your voting plans.

Here’s how:

Register to Vote

Register here. If you’ve already done this, take the time to verify your registration status here. 

Find your polling place

Not sure where to vote? Find your polling location here.

Request your absentee ballot

Out of the state you’re registered in on Election Day? Don’t feel comfortable voting in person? Request your absentee ballot here.

Find out how to vote early

Most states allow early voting! Check out your state's early voting laws here.

Get a personalized ballot

See who is running for local and federal office in your community and what issues are on the ballot in your state! Click here to personalize your ballot.

Check if you need an ID

Some states require identification to vote. Check your state ID policies here.

Make a Plan

Finalize your plans for Election Day. What time will you vote? How will you arrive at your polling location? Who will you vote for? Finalize your plan here.

Take the Pledge

The stakes have never been higher for LGBTQ+ youth. Take GLAAD’s official voting pledge here

The poet Andrea Gibson said “everyone knows what you’re against — show them what you’re for.” As you prepare to vote during this consequential election, keep in mind the issues that matter to you. Don’t just vote against cruelty, vote FOR equity, equality, acceptance, and fairness. Vote with pride. 

As an activist and organizer, I’m voting for candidates that will prioritize LGBTQ+ issues, including homelessness reform, pay equity, and healthcare protections for trans folks. I’m voting for rights and freedoms for incarcerated trans women. As a victim of revenge porn, I’m voting for a Congress that will hear the ENOUGH Act and the SHIELD Act on the floor of the House and Senate. Tweet me and let me know what causes you’re voting for. 

Vote for what matters to you but what matters most is that you vote. See you at the polls. 

Leah Juliett is a GLAAD Campus Ambassador Alum and Founder and Executive Director of March Against Revenge Porn. Leah (they/them) is a representative in the Miss America Organization. They have been featured on CNN, BuzzFeed, TED, Glamour, Teen Vogue, and more. Leah is a GLAAD Rising Star and founding Campus Ambassador.

the voice and vision of a new generation