Activists, analysts, and politicians alike have said that this is the most important election of our lives. In some ways, this is true. This election has a lot at stake, as all elections do. On Tuesday, November 3, 2020, American adults have the opportunity to vote on ballot measures and candidates across the country that impact everything from education and healthcare to human rights abuses like child marriage.
Your vote impacts the work of Students Against Child Marriage just as much as it does taxes, foreign affairs and countless other issues. There are currently no federal laws governing child marriage, so it is just as important for you to vote locally as it is to vote federally.
The candidates you elect up and down the ballot impact survivors of child marriage. They have the power to prevent the abuse of child marriage in the first place.
State Senators, Assemblymembers, and other state-wide elected officials have the power to write and pass laws to limit, or even ban child marriage. Only four states have completely outlawed child marriage. The people you elect to your state legislature can help make your state the next to outlaw this abusive institution.
State representatives also vote on state budget policies that impact funding to survivor support services, such as domestic violence shelters. These policies also affect social services that are essential to supporting victims and preventing child marriage through education, healthcare, and social workers.
City Council Members
City council duties obviously change from city to city, but they also impact survivors in your community. These legislative bodies vote on policies that affect the services available in your city, running from after school programs to community resources. For example, my city council gives grants to local shelters and food pantries which can support families and victims of domestic violence.
Judicial elections also vary by state. In many, judges are elected to their court positions. These are another group of elected officials empowered with the ability to prevent child marriage. Many states require judicial approval for children to marry underage. While there are a host of issues with this process—sometimes the cases can be approved by a clerk without going to the judge—it is important to elect judges you believe will use their best judgment in these situations to prevent children from abuse.
The Takeaway: Vote!
As you can see, it is important to vote in all elections, not just federal elections. Be sure to research the initiatives and candidates on your ballot (Ballotpedia and your county’s voter guides are helpful for this) as these are the elected officials who hold the power to end this abuse.
Finally, political activity does not end with voting. Yes, it is important to vote, but after the election, it is just as important to engage with your representatives to let them know what issues you care about. If child marriage is one of those issues join our national team, join an existing chapter, or start a chapter to be involved in the fight to end child marriage.
Disclosure: Students Against Child Marriage is a 501(c)(3) public charity that is prohibited from supporting or opposing any particular political candidate or party. No statement in the above blog or elsewhere on this website should be construed to indicate our preference for a particular political candidate or party. We encourage you to vote, no matter for whom!