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Politics: 7 Ways to Get Involved Now

Politics: 7 Ways to Get Involved Now

    If you have, by some miracle, managed to avoid all manner of news lately, you might be surprised to know that there’s a U.S. presidential election in less than a month. Even if you are aware of it, you may be reluctant to get involved or just not sure where to start. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that you vote for one candidate over the other, but I would like to make a few suggestions for getting in on some of that political action.

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    1. Start with your own paperwork

    I’m always surprised to find out how many people aren’t registered to vote. Even if you’ve gotten the necessary paperwork in to your county board of elections, you will probably need to confirm that the paperwork went through if you really want to vote on November 4. On top of that, you’ll want to know where your polling place is and the local hours. The easiest way to find out all of this information is to get on to your county board of elections’ website: what information isn’t prominently displayed on the website is available through the phone number also displayed online.

    2. Get involved in the process

    I know plenty of people who have volunteered for one campaign or the other, but there is one organization that really needs involvement in order to make sure that elections go off without a hitch: the county board of elections. Specifically, it seems like almost every county still needs election judges for the upcoming vote. Qualifications are simple — in most states, polling places are required to be run by an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. You have to be already registered to vote, but beyond that there are very few requirements. Some states will even pay you.

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    In the same vein, there are a number of non-partisan groups that observe the election to insure that there is no hanky-panky with any of the ballot boxes. The League of Women Voters is one of the best known groups, although there are quite a few. Many of these groups are particularly looking for volunteers with technical knowledge to visit polling places with electronic voting machines.

    3. Look at the local

    Despite the fact that there’s minimal turnout for local elections, I firmly believe that pulling the lever for my local school board is more important than voting for president. In the grand scheme of things, it’s easier to find someone willing and able to address your issue at the local level than higher up the political food chain. But to be able to make the local political structure work for you, you have to first vote for local politicians who share your concerns about issues. Most states have local amendments and elections on the ballot this fall: take the time to read up on them and consider getting involved at the local level.

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    4. Support your candidate with more than a vote

    Most campaigns — whether for candidates or causes — are run on a shoe string budget. The fundraising done by the two major party candidates is certainly not the norm. And while I’m confidant that those candidates wouldn’t mind either my cash or my time, I’ve thought long and hard about where my contributions will wind up. Sure I’m supporting one candidate for president in particular, but I’m also devoting a little time and money to some candidates in the state government out my way.

    5. Consider running yourself

    The filing deadline for the 2008 election has passed in most areas, but I think that running for even a small, local position comes with some rewards. I have my eye on a couple of jobs myself and while I’m not ready to run this year, I’m seriously considering it as a future opportunity. After all, it’s easier to get things done if you’re already a part of the system.

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    To become part of the system, you don’t necessarily need to take office, though. You can also become active in the local leadership of your political party. For some of us who are a little less inclined to the spotlight, such an approach might be preferable: you can still be involved in setting policy, but you’re less likely to find a camera crew at your front door.

    6. Provide others with the chance to get involved

    Something as simple as rounding a couple of friends and taking them to the polling place with you can have a phenomenal affect on the election. There’s a reason that both major political parties consider their ‘get out the vote’ efforts absolutely critical. If you really believe a particular cause, though, go beyond getting involved yourself and help others with similar concerns get involved. That can translate into getting signatures on a petition, recruiting people to help you with a cause and more. No matter what, though, remember that we’re living in a democracy. You can’t get much of anything done politically here if you don’t have the support of at least a few people.

    7. Start now

    Sure, the next election is less than a month away. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get involved now. These are the days when campaign volunteers get a little scarce, as those who have been with the campaign for months at this point get tired. There are also more than a few campaigns that need only a few thousand votes to tip them into victory. Now is the time to get involved. Don’t wait for next year, or worse, the next presidential election.

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    Last Updated on March 24, 2021

    8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

    8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

    We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

    On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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    Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

    1. Smart Door Locks

    A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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    2. Smart Kitchen Tools

    Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

    3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

    If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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    4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

    These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

    5. Nest Thermostat

    This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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    6. Smart Lighting

    Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

    7. Google Chromecast Ultra

    Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

    8. Canary

    This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

    Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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