Vote! Vote! Vote!
Voting NOW is more important than ever, especially for those citizens who just gained the right to vote. Congrats! Now let's start understanding the fundamentals to voting & why your individual vote plays a pivotal role not only for the presidential election, but for your future. Buckle up folks!
If you've somehow mysteriously landed on this page, maybe, it's because you were in the same place I was just four years ago. You didn't care about politics or thought to yourself (like me), none of this affects me, so why should I care? My ignorance blinded me to the various problems as well as the important matters that I'm super passionate about today: women's rights, global warming and animal rights. Although there is a time and place to deep-dive into all of that, right now I want to share with you my breakdown in to getting yourself more equipped and ready for the polls. And mostly, to take OUT Trump. <3
Your Vote Counts!
Check out this info-graph above. What does your overall voter representation look like? Although our (Gen Z) representation alone equates to 10% of the country, combine that with the Millennials' (24-30 y/o) representation at 27%. Right there we have 37% or more than 1/3 of the US population as young, registered & eligible voters. That's huge, IF we decide to unify and all vote. Unfortunately, a large majority of young voters (Millennial & Gen Z), decide not to vote due to a plethora of reasons (i.e.: work conflicts, indifference in candidates, didn't think their vote would count, etc.). Let me remind you again. YOUR VOTE COUNTS. Period. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. One good thing that came out of COVID is that everyone can now vote by mail, so you don't need to take time off work, yay! Also, being indifferent about candidates further prolongs & supports Trump's presidency. Now is not the time to be indifferent, but rather take a stance! Cool. Now that we got that settled, you're probably wondering... this is all great to know, but, HOW do I register to vote?
SO glad you asked... Registering is easier than ever & only takes a few minutes thanks to the internet. ;) There are a few basic registration rules that each voter needs to fulfill in order to register:
1) one must be a citizen of the United States of America
2) each citizen must be at least 18 years old
Based on the state you live in, there may be a few other rules, which you can find HERE. Make sure you cover all of your bases by registering on time too! Voter registration deadlines can be found HERE, although some states DO accept same-day registration. If you pass the test, follow the steps to get registered on vote.gov. And voila! Easy as pie. Save your registration receipt for your own records!
Unsure if you're already registered? Did your address change? Haven't voted in a long time? Check your voter registration status HERE so that you can ensure your vote, come around election day. And if you aren't in the system, circle back to vote.gov to get yourself accounted for.
Establish a Voting Plan
T-minus one month until election day (Tuesday, November 3rd) and the clock is ticking! Do you have a voting plan? If you don't, ask yourself the following questions based on your conditions and safety when considering COVID-19:
1) Do I want to vote by mail, or in person?
Every registered voter (in CA, CO, DC, HI, MT, NV, NJ, OR, UT, VT, & WN) should automatically be getting a ballot by mail this election. If you're in a different state and want to participate voting by mail, submit an absentee ballot HERE. You can either mail back your ballot (check for vote by mail deadlines HERE) OR drop it off at a verified polling site in your area. Check for polling sites near you HERE.
If for some reason you did not receive a ballot by mail or just simply want to vote in person, that is still an option as well. However, expect a much longer wait time & bring your sample ballot to prep you as much as possible. In every US state, you should be allowed to vote and cast your ballot as long as you're in line by the time the polls close. Check for polling hours HERE; however due to COVID-19, hours may have changed, so please contact your local polling site in advance. If for some reason you're refused your right to vote, call the Non-Partisan Election Protection hotline at: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).
2) Do I want to vote early (starting 10/5) or on Election Day (11/3)?
Yes, vote early! Or at least you should. With COVID-19 as a factor, there will be significantly less poll workers, which will undoubtably create a longer wait time. Avoid voting on election day if possible too, as that will be the busiest day *obvi*. If you plan to vote by mail, it's still important to send your ballot back ASAP, because you don't want to miss your mailing deadline! Check the link above (in the prior paragraph) for your voting by mail deadline.
3) Are you a first time voter?
If you are voting in person, bring a valid I.D.! This includes: current and valid photo identification or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter as acceptable forms of ID. Honestly, just bring it with ya anyways.
Help Others Vote
While voting may seem easy to some, others can get overwhelmed by how tedious the process might seem. This is where you can step in and help educate other fellow citizens about the voting process, as well as getting a better understanding yourself. Reach out to your grandparents, younger siblings, coworkers, neighbors, etc. to make sure everyone within your community & further social network is well equipped in advance.
If you'd like to be a poll worker, you can apply to work HERE! And yes, most states do compensate you for your time & training (although it isn't much). Job duties include setting up polling places, checking in voters, answering questions, & helping with voting machines. This is a GREAT opportunity & exposure for younger, ineligible voters, since you only have to be 16 to become a poll worker.
Use social media as a TOOL. While there are so many cons to social media, the one thing I will say is that it is an excellent platform to share under covered news stories, opinions and information to a widespread audience. While you don't necessarily have to express your preferred political party or who you're going to vote for, it's important to share your stance on particular policies & rights, especially for undecided voters. Your voice is more powerful than you think!