Unless you’ve been living under a rock or on a deserted island, you’ve probably heard there is a presidential election going on. I’m not sure that a rock or a deserted island would be enough for you to not know that this election is a BIG DEAL. Candidates aside, there are important things you need to know before heading to the polls this Tuesday. We have some key tips for you to make sure you’re prepared.
- Are You Registered?
In order to vote in any election, you must first be registered. Most deadlines for online and mail-in registration have passed for all states. In most cases, you can register in person on Election Day to vote. To make matters easier, find out if you’re already registered before heading to the polls by going to www.CanIVote.org
- Do Your Research
No matter who you decided to vote for, it’s important to do your research and be knowledgeable about each candidate in the race. Even if you don’t like your options, voting is the best way to make your voice heard. If you haven’t been paying too close attention to who’s running go to www.ISideWith.org to take an easy quiz to see how your views and beliefs align with each candidate. This is a good way to take out the drama from the media and just look at the issues.
- Absentee or Early Voting
Many states offer absentee ballots and early voting. Some states require an excuse for the need for an absentee ballot, while others will let you without question. Many states offer early voting which is still open and available. Early voting takes the pressure off of voting day by avoiding crowds and lines, and making sure you have everything filled out in the correct way. Make sure if you’ve participated in either of these voting methods to NOT go to the polls on Tuesday. Voting multiple times is against the law and will disqualify your votes.
- Find Your Polling Location
While figuring out where you will go to vote is a given, it’s a good thing to figure out before voting day. Locations move each year and for every election. If you’re not familiar with your local area, scope out your voting location a couple days ahead of time. This will prevent any day-of disasters like getting lost, construction, detours or lack of parking.
- Election Day
If you’ve decided to save your vote for the official Election Day, make sure you give yourself enough time. Know the hours your state is open for voting, and make sure that you plan that into your schedule accordingly. If you’re in school, working full-time, taking the kids to soccer practice or just sitting at home, make sure you schedule voting into your day AND schedule yourself extra time. With big voter turnouts, same-day registration, address changes and more, voting could take you a good chunk of time (think at least an hour). Voting in a Presidential election only requires your time once every four years, so make sure you give it that time on Tuesday.
Lastly, make sure you bring the right documents and identification with you to the polls. You don’t want to make the trip down there only to realize you forgot it! Check with your state to see what is required.