During this voting process, it’s best to start off knowing as much as possible about the process, the candidates, and all the important dates for this election cycle! Here's some information we have compiled to aid you with your process!
General Voter Hotlines and Election Protection
Please use the following hotlines if you have any questions about the process for voting: this includes voter registration, early voting, voting in-person or requesting mail-in voting; the state board of elections website, and election protection.
Election Protection Website: https://866ourvote.org/
Use this website to research information specific to your state and county.
1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)
Get to Know the Process!
Prior to going out and voting, it's critical to research what issues and candidates will be on your ballot. Here are some questions to research and prepare before heading to the polls.
Who are the candidates on the ballot?
What are local ballot measures?
What will voters be deciding?
How do my local elections impact my day-to-day life?
What are ways I will continue to remain engaged after election day?
Are any local organizations hosting candidate forums where I can directly ask candidates questions to learn more about their positions?
How will I remain engaged post-elections?
How Do State and Local Elections Work?
State, municipal, and county-level elections shape our communities and impact our lives. From how police engage with the community to how our children are taught U.S. history in schools to whether affordable housing is being made accessible and our people are being paid livable wages, each of our votes has the power to directly shape the issues that matter to us the most.
Wherever we live, there will be key state and local elections this year! Do you know who is on your ballot?
Our collaborative compiled information on some of the major elected positions in state and local government to help you understand the duties of each elected office and how these positions affect your life and the lives of your family and community.
Some elected positions and their duties vary by state. Please check your state’s election website for more information.
State Legislature (House of Representatives and Senate)
State Legislatures, also referred to as “general assembly,” “legislative assembly,” or “general court,” are responsible for making the laws for the state.
The state legislature has a big impact on our everyday lives. State legislators are crucial to deciding the laws passed on important issues in your state. If you care about issues like housing, reproductive justice, bodily autonomy, education, housing, racial justice, criminal justice, community investment, policing, immigration, voting, and healthcare, it is critical that you vote for state legislators who will protect your interests and rights.
In most states, the Attorney General is the top legal advisor and law enforcement official in the state government. They have significant influence over the state’s law enforcement agencies. The Attorney General works with the state legislature to propose and develop legislation and policies.
In many states, the Attorney General can even intervene to override decisions made by local district attorneys on whether or not to prosecute certain cases, like declining to prosecute low-level offenses or prosecuting those who seek or provide abortions in states with abortion bans.
The Governor is the chief executive of the state. Governors implement state laws and oversee the operation of the state. They develop the annual state budget and submit it to the legislature, which means they decide how your state dollars will be used. They have the power to sign or veto bills passed by the state legislature. In some states, the governor has the power to commute sentences or offer clemency.
In addition, the Governor appoints the heads of state agencies such as the Public Health, Human Services, and Public Safety departments.
Judges are responsible for interpreting and applying the law in critical decisions in the criminal legal system, such as sentencing, setting bail, and determining pretrial incarceration.
In most states, the state Supreme Court is the state’s highest level court. It wields power over many areas of our lives, from school funding and access to health care to gun laws and voting. Their decisions are binding and final on matters involving state laws.
Public Service Commission
The Public Service Commissioners regulate the state’s electric, gas, broadband, and water utilities. They determine rates for services, approve contracts, and manage energy policy.
Who you elect on your Public Service Commission can directly impact how much you pay for your cell phone, cable and integrity, and electricity and natural gas bills.
Secretary of State
The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing voter registration and local, state, and federal elections. Secretaries of State have important roles in state government and can directly impact our right to vote. They can be advocates for voters by expanding voting access or they can undermine the process by restricting voting options and supporting suppressive laws that limit the democratic process.
Some elected positions and their duties vary by state and city/county. Please check your city or county election website for more information.
Mayors & Council Members
The Mayor is the elected Executive, responsible for the city’s daily operations. They are responsible for appointing and dismissing key department heads, usually including the Chief of Police. Mayors present a yearly budget for the City Council for approval.
The City Council acts as the legislative body of their municipality. They have the power to review and approve the city budget, pass resolutions and ordinances, and establish tax rates.
The Mayor and the City Council together address issues including land use and development, housing, job programs or incentives, transportation policies, investment in parks or libraries, and how much to cooperate with the Federal government on areas like immigration policy or drug issues.
In the city of Chicago, which is divided into fifty different legislative districts and wards, alderman are elected to represent the ward in a four year term. Altogether, alderman make up the Chicago City Council. They make critical decisions and are the legislative body for the city of Chicago.
County Commissioners make the laws and policies for the county. Most County Board of Commissioners control how land is used or zoned, supervise environmental decisions, and decide on how the budget is spent in the county to fund services that include the County Board of Elections, public health, safety, human services, and mental health
The District Attorney (DA) or City Attorney is the chief law enforcer of your community. While the powers and responsibilities of District Attorneys can vary state-to-state, they generally have significant decision-making power and the decisions they make have a big impact on people’s lives, the community, and the criminal legal system.
District Attorneys can decide what crimes to prosecute or dismiss, whether a person will be prosecuted and on what charge, and if people are diverted into special programs to avoid criminal records.
Since a District Attorney deals with felonies, they have a particularly important impact on your community including addressing police brutality, misconduct cases, and hate crimes. District Attorneys could work to reform the criminal justice system and address inequalities in sentencing like refraining from criminalizing personal medical decisions and advocating for changes to cash bail standards.
Sheriffs are the chief law enforcement officers in their respective counties, elected to manage the county law enforcement agency. Depending on the state you live in, Sheriffs can control everything from operating jails and dictating how inmates are treated to executing warrants, enforcing eviction notices, and patrolling streets.
Although sheriff discretion varies by state, they can play a critical role in deciding who and how many people go to jail. In addition, they can set arrest priorities, establish the use of force policies, and decide whether or how to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They can choose whether to share information with ICE, whether to hold people on behalf of ICE, and whether to participate in programs that allow deputies to act as ICE agents like 287(g) and the Warrant Service Officers programs.
School Board Members
School board members are responsible for determining educational policy, administrative procedures, and the general supervision over your public school district. The local school board has the most direct impact on the quality of schools and education your child receives.
School board members decide the direction of the school district, including setting the school district budget and spending priorities. This means they approve which schools receive funds for infrastructure improvements and technology upgrades in the classroom. In addition, they approve school programs like arts, music, and sports. They also set school politics like what time school begins and ends and approve the school calendar (including school closure days, as some have approved school closures during Eid holiday and Election Day).