While voting is considered a citizen’s right, one glance at history reveals that the right to vote could even be considered a privilege. Until the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, women weren’t able to exercise their right to vote. Suffragettes fought for decades, so that themselves and all women after them were granted equality.
It’s important to remember the extraordinary figures who fought for our rights. They ensured that everyone’s vote, not just the decisions made by white men, could determine historical changes in our country.
VOTING IN 5 STEPS
- Register to vote! (If you haven’t already)
Before anything, the first step is to secure your vote. Registration deadlines vary by state so it’s best to register as soon as possible. You can find the cutoff dates for your state here.
If you are already registered, double check your registration status here to make sure it is up to date, whether it’s because you moved or your name changed. You can only vote in the state you are registered in and you need to bring your ID in order to vote, so your name must be the same.
- Decide when, where and how you are going to vote!
This is crucial while voting during a pandemic. When voting in-person, check your neighborhood to cast your ballot. Remember to practice social distancing.
If you are voting in one state while registered in another, consider getting an absentee ballot to cast your vote from your current location.
If you are voting from the comfort of your own home, request for an absentee ballot/mail-in ballot.
Every state has different rules for voting absentee and through mail-in ballots, check them here to ensure you’re up to speed. All states have specific deadlines for requesting one, so do so now!
Deciding when you are going to vote is important so you can get off work early. Most polling locations stay open for 12 hours during election days, check your state’s here. Some states offer early voting, check here, while in other states you can request time off to vote, check here.
- Gather all the necessary documents, including ID’s
If you’re planning for an absentee ballot, request one right away to ensure that it is received and delivered.
If you’re voting in-person, have your ID handy. Renew it if necessary.
Some states require valid photo IDs, and other states accept non-photo IDs. If the state does all mail-in ballots, then you do not need your ID at all. Check here to see the ID rules for your state.
- Do your research
No matter your party affiliation, educate yourself on the candidates to ensure that you aren’t blindly voting for someone incapable of leading. Whether about the environment, foreign affairs, or health care, keep in mind that you’re not going to entirely agree with every party’s issues and that’s okay!
After mailing in your vote or voting in person, make sure to wear your “I voted” sticker proudly. Show it off on social media with the #vote, #vote2020, #votingmatters, or #voteforchange.