There are a few key steps to make your Election Day go efficient and smooth. The big day is nearing soon, so here are 6 steps to become a pro at the polls!
If you’re planning to vote in the fall 2018 Elections, the deadline to register to vote has already passed. If you have not yet registered to vote, you can still be involved. Check out your states voter registration deadline here and plan to register ASAP for the next Election! In the meantime, you can play a part of this Election by sharing accurate information¸ offering rides to the polls and joining committees in your community. If you have already registered or done so in the past, double check your registration status before Election Day to be sure. You can check here. This will tell you your polling location, your registration information and other details you need for being an active voter.
2. Gather Information
You’re registered and it’s finally Election season, now what? This is the time together as much information as possible. Whether you are voting for your local Elections, midterms or the big presidential Election, you MUST take it upon yourself to do your own research to identify what you want to vote for. It’s good to start with the issues. Discover what is on the ballot. What changes are being proposed and who will those changes or the lack thereof affect your community in the present and long run? Use sites like ballotpedia.org/Main_Page, votesmart.org/ or headcount.org/issues-and-candidates/ as the spark of your research. When finding information, especially on the internet, try to find multiple credible sources that support that information. Try not to subjectively avoid what you may find that disprove that information, simply because you don’t agree. Look beyond the political parties and make an effort to see candidates as individuals when evaluating their stances. Try to identify what is an ad, endorsement or sponsorship. Here are some more research tips.
Also, be sure to gather information your how you can vote. Discover your assigned polling location. Pull it up on your GPS so you are defiantly sure you know how to make it there. This site will help you identify where you need to be. Think ahead about the timing, parking, procedures, and resources necessary to get to the polls.
3. Check The Date
Now that you know what you wish to vote for, and you know where to vote, identify when to vote. Check your calendar to discover if you have to rearrange or clear out your schedule. If Election Day doesn’t work out for you, you can use another method of voting! Absentee and early voting are options if you can’t make it to the polls on Election day. Learn more about these forms of voting and your state’s guidelines, here. Coordinate with friends and neighbors to make votes happen. Carpool, Gift Ubers or Lyfts to those needing rides to vote. If you are in need of a ride to the pools, call your city’s Public Transit Association to see if they are offering free rides to the pools. You can also snag a free and discounted rides form ride from Uber and Lyft as well as some other ride-share services here. Do what all you can to get to the polls!
4. Pack The Necessities
Prepare everything you need to voting day as early as possible. Most states require you have some form of ID. Check out www.usa.gov/Election-day and scroll down to ‘Voter ID Requirements’ to see what you must bring to vote. If you have any concerns, call your polling location and speak with an Election official (https://www.eac.gov/voters/Election-day-contact-information/). If you have specific accessibility requirements, know the laws that protect you and your right to vote. ‘Voter Accessibility Laws’ gives a clear and detailed list of helpful information for disability and language accessibility when voting.
We never wish to experience voter intimidation but the sad truth is that it can happen. Stay ready in the unfortunate case of voter suppression and discrimination. The ACLU explains how to identify voter intimidation here. If you experience or witness voter intimidation use or share these numbers with the citizen involved: Election Day Problems? Call one of these hotlines:1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)1-844-YALLA-US (Arabic). Identify and note as much information as possible. It’s always best to prepare and to the event. That starts with knowing your rights.
5. Cast Your Vote
It all comes down to this! You’ve researched, prepared, asked every question and used every answered to make your final decisions. This is your chance to take the opportunity to make actual change. It all starts small. Your local Election can lead to big changes for our entire country. Ask polling officials for any assistance, take your time and vote for what YOU believe in!
6. Celebrate: You Made History
YOU DID IT! You can now party like its 1776 or 2018! Either way, you did an amazing job. Elections and your voting rights are something to get excited about. Host a voting party & see which candidates won and which issues were passed! Stay active & engaged with your community and you’ll be a pro and the polls!