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Civic Health Month: How Voting Impacts Your Health

August 2, 2021
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What is Civic Health Month?

August is Civic Health Month. Civic Health Month reminds us how voting impacts healthcare in our communities.

This year, Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) is partnering with Vot-ER to celebrate Civic Health Month. Vot-ER is a nonprofit organization committed to helping make it easier for patients to vote. Civic Health Month, hosted by Vot-ER, celebrates the connections between voting and your health.

This month, CCA is encouraging you to register to vote. We also want to make sure you have the correct voting information.

How can voting impact health?

It doesn’t always feel that our vote makes a difference. But voting gives us a voice—especially in local and state elections. When you vote, you select individuals to make decisions about the community you live in on your behalf. Those people went into public office to support their communities. They want to hear what needs to change. Voting is the first step in telling them what is working and what’s not.

You may not think that voting has an impact on your health. Where you live affects your health as much as the medical care you receive with us. For example, the number of grocery stores differs by neighborhood. This means that the availability of healthy foods also differs by neighborhood. Luckily, the people you elect to office can influence where new grocery stores open. They can influence the type of new grocery stores, too. Also, the people you elect can influence how accessible your neighborhood is. You can help make your neighborhood more accessible by voting for people who want to build more curb cuts, ramps, and textured sidewalks in public spaces.

Government officials also impact the quality and availability of homes, schools, and jobs. By voting, you can determine who is making these important decisions about where you live, learn, work, and play.

Engaging in civic duties can benefit your mental health as well. Getting involved in your community can give you feelings of belonging and a sense of purpose. These feelings can improve your mental health and well-being.

Why is voting important for CCA members?

Voting is important and it is especially important for you, our members, to vote. Our membership represents unique populations with unique healthcare needs.

When you vote, you expand the opinions shaping the policies that affect your health. How will lawmakers know there are no grocery stores in your neighborhood or curb cuts on your sidewalks? Often, people running for office are unaware of issues in your community. Sharing your priorities with them can ensure they make improvements where you live. That is why CCA wants to prepare you for every election.

Where can I find voting resources?

Here are some resources and tips to help you vote in upcoming elections:

  1. Register to vote or check your voter status to prepare for the next election.
  2. Once registered, plan to vote in all elections including national, state, and local. Prioritize local elections which give you a voice every year. Some upcoming local elections include:
    • September 14, 2021: Boston City Council primary election
    • November 2, 2021: Boston Mayor and City Council general election
    • Stay up to date with the Massachusetts Election Calendar
  3. If going to a polling place is difficult for you, learn about accommodations for persons with disabilities. Remember that CCA provides non-emergency transportation that can help get you to the polls. You can even apply to vote electronically.
  4. Learn about qualifying to vote by mail using an absentee ballot. If you are applying for a ballot by mail, a member of your family can do so on your behalf.

Voting is your opportunity to have a voice in government. You can directly impact where you live by voting for officials that share your priorities. When you vote, you make better health outcomes a priority for everyone.

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