After sanforization, representative democracy is probably the crowning achievement of human development. In the United States, you have the opportunity to exercise both today.
It’s Election Day in America. The midterms are a chance to elect the one-third of the U.S. Senate, two-thirds of the state governors, all of the U.S. House of Representatives, and a whole array of other state offices and ballot initiatives. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for our American readers on exactly how to vote today.
1. Make Sure You’re Registered
Many states require you to register in advance of the election. Unfortunately if you have not registered in some states, you will be unable to vote. You can check your registration status by clicking here and entering your information.
Many states allow you to register on the same day as the election. If you live in Hawaii, California, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine, you can simply go to the polls today and vote! Some of those states, however, require proof of residency so be sure to bring a state-issued ID like a driver’s license or a lease or utility bill that shows your current address.
If you are not registered and live in another state, you can do so online in most states by clicking here. Even if you can’t vote today, it takes five minutes to get registered and then you’ll be sure you can when the next election rolls around in 2020.
2. Educate Yourself on the Issues
Even if you’re already sure which political party you’re going to vote for, your ballot likely has a variety of amendments, referendums, and other initiatives that could affect where you live much more than who you decide to elect (for example, the majority of states that legalized marijuana did so via ballot initiatives).
Prepare yourself on how you’re going to vote before stepping into the voting booth. Ballotpedia is an independent non-partisan resource that allows you to enter your address and preview what you’re going to see on your ballot. It also breaks down the language used in ballot measures into plain English and presents arguments on both sides of the issue at hand.
It also doesn’t hurt to Google the names of candidates and initiatives to see a variety of news sources for information on each of your choices.
3. Locate Your Polling Place
Now that you know how you’re going to vote, it’s time to make your voice heard. If you’re voting absentee (mail-in), you should have already received your ballot in the mail. If not, you’re going to need to find your local polling place.
You can do so by entering your address at Vote.org.
If you’re voting by mail, you should have turned your ballot in by now! Many states need to receive your ballot by midnight tonight for it to count (some accept a postmark on the same day, but even still that means the Post Office has to have it by 5pm at the latest). You can still also vote in person if you’ve yet to mail yours in.
Most polling places are open from 7am to 7pm. Employers are legally obligated to give you time off from work to vote. If you’re in line by 7pm, stay in line, you will still be able to vote. If you believe you are registered and are denied, ask for a provisional ballot, your vote will count if the race is close and whatever issue with your status is resolved.
Then get in that booth and work your magic!
5. Tell Everyone #IFadeAndIVote
Now, what are you still doing here?? Get out and vote!