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7 Things "The West Wing" Reunion Special Nailed About Voting

If you have the right to vote, it's imperative that you use it.

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ATTENTION WEST WING GEEKS! "A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote" aired yesterday on HBO Max, and it was a rollercoaster ride of nostalgia.

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As a fellow West Wing geek, I was really looking forward to the special, and it did not disappoint. It was so cool to see all of our favorite characters perform "Hartsfield's Landing," an episode that aired almost 20 years ago.

As Bradley Whitford explained in typical "Josh Lyman" fashion, the cast and crew were very eager to help When We All Vote, which is why they worked so hard to put on a safe, educational, and entertaining show.

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When We All Vote is a nonpartisan organization working to get more people to vote, especially the young people and people of color who are historically disenfranchised from elections.

With the organization's help, the West Wing team took breaks throughout the performance to share some information about voting, and a lot of it was really interesting and super important! So, we thought we'd share a few of the great points they made throughout the special...

Here are seven things everyone should know about voting:

1. It could be quite a while until we find out the results of the election.

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Way more people are voting by mail this year in order to avoid crowded polling places. That's awesome, but some states can't start counting mail-in ballots until after polling sites close which means it could be days before we find out the results.

2. Voter fraud isn't just unlikely — it baaarely exists.

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Marlee Matlin, who plays Joey Lucas, said, "In the past 20 years, there were 143 cases of voter fraud," presumably referring to the number of voter fraud convictions related to voting by mail. Voter fraud is very rare, and mail-in voting is safe. You don't have to worry about foreign countries using counterfeit ballots, you don't have to worry about people turning in stolen ballots, and you definitely don't have to worry about *checks notes* your dog voting in the next election.

3. No one is "apolitical" because politics affect everyone.

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It's really easy to feel apathetic about politics and forget how much they affect our daily lives. Yes, talking about them can be very uncomfortable, but our government determines whether or not you have health care, can afford to pay your bills without taking on a second job, you're treated equally under the law, and... whether or not the public takes a global pandemic seriously. Basically, politics deal in life-or-death choices that can't be ignored.

4. You should sign up to become a poll worker if you are young and don't have any preexisting conditions.

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The people who usually work polling places are typically 65 or older which just so happens to be the age group that is most affected by COVID-19. Without well-staffed polling places, those long lines that we are used to seeing on election days could get much longer. 😬Coolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcool.😬 If you feel comfortable working at a polling place, you should totally sign up here. You'll get personal protective equipment, training, and maybe even get paid!

5. In many countries, citizens still don't get to choose their representatives in free and fair elections — so if you have the right to vote, it's imperative that you use it.

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Unfortunately, voting isn't a given. In the "Hartsfield's Landing" episode, the US interceded on war games between Taiwan and China over the prospect of Taiwan hosting elections. That actually did happen in 1996, and Taiwan has since succeeded in creating an election system that is healthier than that of the United States! That being said, there are still many countries that don't hold free and fair elections.

6. And so many Americans are still being denied their right to vote, too.

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As Dulé Hill and Sterling K. Brown pointed out, only 40% of young, Black people voted in the 2016 election, due, in part, to voter suppression. In 2012, Black voters actually turned out at higher rates than white voters! Unfortunately, two Supreme Court cases that followed made it much easier to suppress voters of color. Felony disenfranchisement, photo ID laws, and voter purging are just some of the ways politicians prevent people from voting.

7. Your vote really does matter!

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Over 200 million people are eligible to vote this year, which might make you feel like a drop in the ocean, but we've seen time and time again that every single drop counts. Politicians know it, and many of them work very hard to try and prevent you from participating in elections. Don't let them discourage you. Don't let them lie to you. Don't let them stop you from exercising your right to vote.

NOW, 👏 LET'S! 👏 GO! 👏 VOTE!

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