It may seem strange to talk about voting in the middle of summer, but primary elections are right around the corner. And while voting is usually on people’s radar, the combination of work, family vacations and back-to-school prep, can make it seem overwhelming to sort out candidates, ballot issues and how to vote responsibly. Hopefully these three tips will help you decide how to make the most of your upcoming votes.

  1. Learn how your vote impacts local schools. Whether it’s a vote for governor, state legislator or school district board member, your ballot can have a far-reaching impact for schools all over the state. The graphic below breaks down how different elected officials make their mark on schools.
  2. Get to know the candidates. Now that you understand how candidates can impact education, it’s time to evaluate the options. We’ve compiled some key questions that can help with that, including, “In general, would you say that the salaries that K-12 teachers receive in Arizona is too high, too low or just about right?” and “When is the last time you visited a public school in Arizona – district or charter? Can you share a challenge or success story from those visits?” You can find more critical questions at org/vote, along with other election-related resources, including candidate report cards.
  3. Mark your calendars! If you’re not yet registered to vote, you have until July 30 to register to vote in the primaries. Many races are decided in the primary election, yet only three out of 10 registered voters in Arizona participated in 2016. The primary election is coming on Aug. 28. If you vote by mail, the ballot needs to be sent by Aug. 22. And don’t forget the general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

If you think your vote can’t make a difference, consider that only 75 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the most recent presidential election. Elections – particularly local races – can be won or lost by only a handful of votes. That could be yours.

Expect More Arizona is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan education advocacy organization working to ensure every child receives an excellent education every step of the way. Vote 4 Education is Expect More Arizona’s annual voter engagement initiative, encouraging Arizona’s voters to make education their top priority. As a 501c3, Expect More Arizona does not endorse specific candidates or influence the outcomes of candidate elections. For more election resources, visit ExpectMoreArizona.org/vote.

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