Next week is election day and it is our chance to vote for those who will represent us in local, state and national positions. Education Minnesota tracks voter information and paraprofessionals vote at a lesser rate than teachers or other school professionals. Often they hear that there isn’t enough time to vote, my vote doesn’t matter or I didn’t know who to vote for as excuses why someone did not vote in any given election. Let’s address all three of these excuses one by one.
“There isn’t enough time to vote.” I get it, we are all very busy. I know many paraprofessionals work second (or third) jobs, they are going to school and/or have families that they have to attend to. We have a lot on our plates. Did you know that under state statute 204C.08 that your employer must allow you time to vote during work hours? You can’t argue with the fact that you can take a little time to complete your civic duty.
“My vote doesn’t matter.” It may seem that way but in all reality many local elections the difference between winning and losing are no more than a few hundred or less votes. At a state level, winning and losing may be decided by a few thousand or less votes. Your vote does matter. It could be the difference between getting the person you support into office or not. In the 2008 race for Senator, Al Franken won over Norm Coleman by 312 votes. Just think those 312 Franken votes were the difference in the election. If there was 313 Coleman voters who decided that their vote didn’t matter, they costed their candidate the election.
“I don’t know who to vote for.” Let’s be honest with all of the finger pointing, he said/she said, negative attack ads it is tough to know what to believe. What I recommend is what matters to you. As a public school employee, it probably matters that we elect representatives that support public education. Without elected officials who support public education, we will most likely see legislation that slows or reduces funding for schools. In fact, some of the money that goes to public education now may get diverted to private schools. There are a number of resources you can find to help shape your opinion. One such resource is edmnvotes.org. This resource provides you with a number of comparisons of candidates as well as those who are endorsed by Education Minnesota members.