Have you voted?
In the 2016 Presidential election voting, only about 56 percent of the voting age population voted. In close elections, that means just over 25 percent of the voters are determining the outcome.
To find out election information, check out The League of Women Voters’ very helpful website of election information.
Here are a few tips for voting:
Register to vote
If you aren’t already registered to vote, check your state’s information to find out the deadline for registering and to determine the process for registering.
Review the ballot
The Presidential election is the focus of the 2020 election, but the ballot has many more elected offices and issues to vote on.
My ballot, for example, included voting on state and federal legislators, voting on whether or not to reinstate state judges, voting on amendments to the state constitution, and voting on city and council policies, including raising the minimum wage of city employees.
Some of those voting decisions can be made on the spot when you step into the voting booth. But other decisions, like state supreme court justices and district courts of appeals judges are listed with the option of whether or not to retain. You will need to do some online homework to make informed votes.
Also, sometimes the wording of constitutional amendments and other proposals is not clear. You may need to do some investigating before you reach the polls to understand the intent of each issue you are voting on.
As a registered voter, you may have received in the mail a sample ballot. If not, you can check online for the sample ballot for your voting district.
The Presidential election is of great concern, but other issues on your ballot are important to you, too. Don’t miss the opportunity to make informed decisions on every issue on your ballot.
Determine if you will vote by mail-in ballot or in person
Will you vote in person or with a mail-in ballot?
Vote with mail-in ballot – If you want to vote by mail-in ballot, check what the deadlines are in your state for requesting a ballot and for submitting your ballot. If you plan to mail your ballot, do so as soon as possible. If you are concerned that your ballot may not be received by the mail-in deadline, determine your other options, such as delivering your ballot to your supervisor of elections or delivering your ballot to a voting location.
Vote in person – Decide if you will be voting early or on Election Day. The advice is to vote early if possible, as the lines on Election Day will be very long. Also, if you had an unexpected situation on Election Day, like a sick child or torrential rain, you won’t have the option of waiting to vote on another day. Find out about early voting in your state at Vote.org.
Determine your voting location – Be aware that the location for early voting may not be the same as the location as where you would vote on Election Day. Check online to determine your voting location.
Know what identification you need to vote. Check Vote.org website for a state-by-state listing of voter ID requirements.
If you are voting in person, be sure to take your mask and other supplies, such as snacks, water, hand sanitizer and rain gear. The C.D.C. recommends that you take your own black ink pen or stylus to use on touch-screen voting machines.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Be aware voting regulations in some locations do not allow campaign materials within a certain distance from the voting location. That can mean no campaign attire, such as T-shirts, pins or caps, can be worn by voters.
Support voter rights
Thanks to the League of Women Voters and other organizations for pursuing legal action to fight against voter suppression. (I’m proud to be a LWV member. You can join, too, or make a donation.)
Take part in the US democratic process and vote!
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Election Day 2020
This is the first time I ever wondered if my ballot might be rejected for some reason. I contacted our County Clerk’s office, which supervises elections. I was told that in Oregon NO ballots are rejected. If something is questionable, the voter is contacted so the matter can be resolved. I was so glad to hear that.
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Thanks for sharing this, Carla. How great that Oregon is pro-active in contacting a voter if there’s something that needs to be resolved with a ballot. Only 18 states require that voters be notified if there is a problem with a signature on a mail-in-ballot. https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/vopp-table-15-states-that-permit-voters-to-correct-signature-discrepancies.aspx
Voting is so important! Even if you cannot vote, you can still voice opinions on social media, in your school paper or other public forums. You never know who might be listening 😊
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Good advice for those not old enough to vote. So many of the decisions being made by politicians now will impact young people’s future in a way much different from viewing the decisions’ outcome in just 5-10 years.
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