An Election Guide for Social Workers

“The world has been abnormal for so long that we've forgotten what it's like to live in a peaceful and reasonable climate. If there is to be any peace or reason, we have to create it in our own hearts and homes.” ― Madeleine L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

As of this writing, there are less than thirty days until the 2020 Election. This has been a year of tremendous uncertainty on so many fronts, and unlike in past years, it seems the uncertainty will continue through Election Night and possibly beyond.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, SWHPN is not permitted to endorse a specific candidate, nor are we allowed to oppose any candidate.

What we can do is provide information for our members in alignment with our values and ethics.

“Social workers should promote policies and practices that demonstrate respect for difference, support the expansion of cultural knowledge and resources, advocate for programs and institutions that demonstrate cultural competence, and promote policies that safeguard the rights and confirm equity and social justice for all people.” ― NASW Code of Ethics Standard

This provides a helpful framework when evaluating candidates. Does one promote respect for others, work to advance social equity and health access?

Further, our work in hospice and palliative care demands we focus on alleviating suffering, providing comfort, and when necessary, offering options for dying with dignity and in accordance with one’s wishes. When looking at candidates, will one work to improve racial relations, to end the extrajudicial killing of Black people by police officers? To increase funding for mental health services, in order to reduce suicides? To preserve and increase access to healthcare, insurance coverage, and higher wages?

As hospice and palliative care social workers, we realize you may need to help patients, family members, and colleagues understand their options for learning about candidates and where and how to vote. Towards that goal, we have prepared a short guide with some key information you may find helpful to share, including a link to a state-by-state voting guide with details on the different ways to submit a completed ballot.

Take care with your vote this year – by making a plan to vote this fall, through whatever method makes the most sense for you – you are directly impacting our country’s future, and lessening the uncertainty we’re facing.

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