5 Reasons Why Your Vote Matters in 2018 Midterms

5 Reasons Why Your Vote Matters in 2018 Midterms


Amplifying our collective voices can make a big difference in this election. While it may not seem as high-profile or flashy as a presidential election, the upcoming 2018 midterms are no less important. In fact, your voice matters even more as the nation gears up for state primaries in March through August, which historically result in low voter turnout despite the important issues at play. Creating change for a better world — from ending global poverty to empowering women and girls to live a life free from violence — starts with representatives in Congress who will champion global issues. Global poverty and international women’s rights are often missing from conversations during midterm elections, but now is the time to speak up. Candidates and members of Congress will listen to voters, and we know that even a few voices can make a big difference.

So, why does your voice and your vote matter leading up to November? Read on to find out, and how you can get engaged today to start shaping candidate’s views on these important issues.

1) The world is facing the worst humanitarian crises we’ve seen since World War II, yet U.S. foreign assistance often remains a low priority for legislators.

Children in refugee camp. Adequate foreign assistance is crucial to U.S. response to humanitarian crises.

Foreign assistance comprises roughly one percent of the federal budget, yet delivers innumerable benefits both here in the U.S. and around the world. Foreign aid saves countless lives and makes our world safer for all. The Trump administration’s proposed FY2019 budget would gut critical U.S. foreign aid funding at a time when parts of the world need it most. Cuts to foreign aid could leave 30 million people without lifesaving food assistance, to give just one example of the impact of the proposed cuts. Thankfully, these cuts will only become reality if Congress agrees to them, which is why we need congressional candidates from both sides of the aisle standing up for a robust international affairs budget.

2) Women nationwide are speaking out against sexual assault and harassment, but violence against women and girls is a global issue that demands international attention.

An estimated one in three women globally will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime.

An estimated one in three women globally will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime, which can include domestic violence, rape and child marriage. This violence persists in communities around the globe, and as the world's refugee population continues to rise, women and girls are even more likely to experience physical and sexual abuse. Our leaders have the tools to end this violence by supporting and passing legislation like the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which would solidify the U.S. as a leader in fighting and preventing the abuse of women everywhere. Candidates need to know that voters across the country support this kind of legislation and are looking for leaders who will take a stand for women and girls everywhere. 

3) Globally, 1.2 billion people live in absolute poverty — and most of them are women and girls.

A local woman hosts women refugees in Nigeria

CARE knows that at its root, poverty is caused by the unequal distribution of power, resources and opportunities for women and girls, especially in places where women can’t work, go to school, access health care or make their own decisions. The record number of U.S. female candidates seeking office in 2018 means women’s voices are intensifying, and we need them to know that voters want to see them use their voice to speak up for policies that ensure women worldwide get the protection — and opportunities — they deserve.

4) Every 104 seconds, a woman dies from a pregnancy-related complication. Most of these deaths are preventable, yet U.S. support to prevent maternal and child deaths has come to a halt.

Mother and child in India. Maternal health and child morbidity remains a global problem.

Last year, CARE denounced the U.S. State Department’s decision to cut off funding to the United Nation’s Population Fund, which provides life-saving health care to women and families globally, including voluntary family planning and safe delivery services. It was also recently reported that the State Department’s annual Human Rights Report will leave out the full abuse and human rights violations experienced by women and girls, like access to family planning services and education. Moves like these underscore the need for elected officials who will support healthy moms and healthy societies. Raising these critical issues on the campaign trail can help ensure that new Members of Congress come to Washington ready to defend critical maternal health programs. 

5) Hunger and malnutrition is on the rise as conflict around the world increases and four countries face famine conditions.

Hunger and malnutrition continues to rise as conflict and famine looms in four major countries worldwide.

More than 815 million people globally don’t have enough food to eat. Natural disasters, like prolonged drought, destroy crops while violent conflict often forces people to flee their homes and livelihoods to areas where food is scarce. By reforming U.S. food aid programs, we can feed up to 10 million more people a year at no extra cost. Lawmakers have the power to advocate for small changes to food aid that saves lives and ends global hunger, and we need to make sure they know that voters are paying attention.

Elections matter. When you engage with candidates on the issues and amplify your own voice, you send a powerful message that we are passionate about ending global poverty and creating a more prosperous world.

Pledge to #VoteIfYouCare in this year’s midterm elections by sharing your promise on Facebook today. Sign up to receive emails from CARE Action on ways you can take action on our issues throughout the year, and visit careaction.org/elections for the resources you need to stay engaged in 2018.

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