Updated: Dec 31, 2020
Elections in the United States are in THIRTY days, on November 3, 2020. Are you ready to use your vote to help improve the health of kids in your community?
This election cycle, you’ll be able to shape policies and agendas at the local, state and federal levels. In 2020, Americans will vote to elect:
The U.S. President;
All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives;
One-third of all U.S. senators;
Eleven state governors and two U.S. territory governors;
Many state legislatures (one or both houses); and
Many city mayors.
There is still time to educate yourself on what will be on your voting ballot, and where the candidates in your municipality stand on issues that will impact child health. Major news outlets have repeatedly called out that health care is the biggest issue facing the upcoming elections. It is important to think critically about how the issues can impact child health for today’s children as well as generations to come.
Ready to vote for kids? Let’s get started.
#1 Determine which electoral seats are on the ballot this year.
Many Americans will vote to fill multiple positions in their local, state and federal government. Step one is to make sure you know which electoral seats will be on your ballot this year. Here are three resources:
The National Conference of State Legislators provides Election 2020 information via their NCSL State Vote resources. On this page, you can see the current state of legislative and state control as well as a high-level overview of ballot measures across the country. There is a tool to narrow down to the state level to determine how many seats are up for election this cycle as well as the State Ballot Measures Database which lists all of the ballot measures for each state.
Ballotpedia offers a simple lookup tool based on your home address. Upon entering your home address, the tool will display your polling place, the window of time that your polls are open, followed by the candidates running for Congress (House of Representatives and Senate), Gubernatorial candidates, other State elected officials, and finally district-wide races. Each candidate will have a link that, upon clicking, will provide background information on the candidates that can include contact information, brief biography, if an incumbent, what committees the candidate has chaired.
Visiting your state’s election commission website may provide state-specific tools. For example, MyVote WI is a website organized by the Wisconsin State Election Commission and provides a variety of election day resources such as the ability to register to vote, vote absentee, what is on the ballot, polling place locations, and the ability to check your voter record.
#2 Learn about your candidates for office
Once you understand which electoral seats will be on your ballot in November, the next step is to meet your candidates for office. The following resources will help you learn about different candidates, why they are running, and what they hope to accomplish if elected.
The first resource you can visit is a candidate’s website, which should provide further information on the issues important to them. Candidates’ websites are often listed with the information displayed at previously mentioned resources, or can be found via Google.
Vote411 is another tool that displays what will be on your ballot based on your home address, with the added capability to compare candidates to each other on specific issues.
Your state’s public radio station website may be a resource for election day material. For example, Wisconsin Vote is compiled by Wisconsin Public Radio featuring candidate profiles, Voter FAQs, and news stories related to Election 2020 coverage.
#3 Learn your candidates’ positions on big issues for children and child health
Earlier, we wrote about how important it is that adults use their votes to improve kids’ health. This is your chance. Use the following resources to learn more about specific legislation and issues that impact kids. Check how your candidates for office stack up on these issues and ask for their support for policies that matter to you.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ What’s At Stake campaign provides resources for the 2020 elections around key issues they have identified for child health including information on state ballot measures.
The First Focus Campaign for Children Bill Tracker provides nonpartisan analysis of current bills in Congress. The larger website also provides resources organized by child health issues including sample letters to congress, fact sheets, congressional testimony, press releases, and presentations.
The USAFacts Voter Center allows users to find their candidates and also provides in-depth data related to key issues of the election including maternal and child health indicators, health insurance coverage, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid enrollment.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation provides a variety of resources to learn about effective policies for children and families, including Children’s Health Watch which specifically focuses on food security, housing stability, energy security, poverty, and health care hardships.
The PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Nemours National Office of Policy and Prevention both feature policy briefs, reports and tools, and webinars to be used in child health advocacy.
The Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll provides up-to-date polling information on issues pertaining to healthcare, in particular, the Affordable Care Act.
The Children’s Hospital Association Issues & Advocacy webpage contains issue briefs and analysis around the key issues they find salient for child health including Medicaid, children with medical complexity, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), graduate medical education, population health, private health coverage and exchanges, and pharmaceutical access.
The health of our nation's children is important for all of us. Look for a series of videos over the next few weeks in which Genesis' co-founders will share personal insights on key policies that impact child health and well-being.
Do you have a favorite resource for child health policy? Tweet us at @GHC_Ideas!