The election is one week away, and early voting has been happening for a month already. Whether you vote early or on Election Day, what's important is that you vote - and vote the entire ballot. Here are few things to consider when you vote:

Every vote matters: Since 2010, over ten elections around us have been determined by 25 votes or less and a lot more are decided by under-100 votes. The last Blue Grass mayor's election came down to two votes, and we've seen a state-house race come down to ten votes.

Vote in your local races: It is also important to make sure you vote for every race, not just president! In fact, it's more likely that the further down ballot you go, the greater the impact will be on your daily life. National issues are important and get a lot of attention, but what your state or county government do will directly impact how your business operates, the quality of your schools, and the quality of our roads and public infrastructure.

Voting is your voice: While your ballot and who you vote for is secret, whether you vote or not is public record. Campaigns create their messages and priorities based on who they think will vote and what will change their minds. The issues that are discussed, a candidate's position on them, as well as what sorts of commercials, phone calls, and mail you receive is all based on whether or not you vote. If you don't vote, you don't just lose your voice in candidates, you lose your voice on issues.

Your vote influences who votes: Voting also forms personal habits and impacts cultural norms. When you vote or don't vote, it makes it more likely that you will or won't vote in the future. It also influences people around you. Your voting actually affects whether people around you vote or not. Polling places hand out "I Voted" stickers and even have a spot where voters can take a selfie for a ready-made social media post.  These statements influence whether or not your network will vote.

Voting is easy: You can vote any day through Saturday in Iowa and any day through the election in Illinois, and polls are open from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM in Iowa and 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM in Illinois. Click here for more information and resources about voting, and feel free to email Henry Marquard, Director of Government Affairs if you have any questions or need any assistance.

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