West Philadelphia Train TracksI know, I know. You’re used to seeing cute babies and outfits and other non life-threatening, non controversial things on this blog. But bear with me for a minute because this is important.

Voter ID laws are constantly changing in this country. Since they’re determined at the state level, what I need to vote here in Pennsylvania might be completely different from what my family in New Jersey and Florida or friends in Delaware and California need to bring with them to the polls. What you need might even be different from the last time you voted.

Voter fraud is statistically nonexistent, but voter ID laws significantly decrease voter turnout. Seventeen states have passed new voter ID laws since the last election, which, according to ThisisMyCountry, means 11 percent of Americans may currently be unable to cast a vote. President Obama won the White House by just under 4 percent, so there’s your proof that your vote counts, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.

If you’re planning to vote this election (and I hope you are), please check the laws in your state. It’s really easy:

Step 1: visit ThisisMyCountry
Step 2: click “Make Sure You’re Registered”
Step 3: click “Check Your ID”
Step 4: help spread the word because this is important

Now let me just add a little something else that’s on my mind.

This has been a polarizing election season. Most of them are honestly, but this is, as the Internet and every cable news network keeps reminding us, “unprecedented.” But Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump aren’t the only two people on the ballots this November and most of the laws that affect our daily lives originate in our own states and cities. I live in a liberal city and if you follow me on Twitter you’re crystal clear on where I stand on many issues. Living in Philadelphia, I’m concerned about things like funding for a better public education system for our children, stricter gun laws, equal pay for equal work, what the hell we’re going to do about climate change, family leave, comprehensive immigration reform and a woman’s right to make critical decisions about her body and to have access to affordable women’s healthcare providers, to name a few.

That means my vote for Hillary Clinton is equally as important as my vote for Katie McGinty for State Senate.

We’re all disgusted by the current state of this race and some people are coping by simply tuning it all out. I get that, but sitting out this election won’t fix the real problems faced by real people in this country. Tune out the cable news “surrogates” and all the drama unfolding every single damn day, but please don’t tune out where your senators, representatives and local legislatures stand on the issues that matter to you and your family.

Your vote counts.

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