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Crash Course: Voting in the 2020 Presidential Election

JAU’MORE WILSON, BLOGGER

The general election is near! While this statement brings up a lot of different questions for everyone, the biggest question is are you voting? Please say yes! Voting is one of the most important duties that we have as American citizens. Sadly, it is often a duty that some people seem to not take seriously. But, now more than ever, America needs your vote! 

Here are the basics of preparing to vote in the upcoming election: 

Register to Vote  

So, you are wondering how to vote? Well, it is quite an easy and accommodating process. First, you must be registered to vote in your state (unless you live in North Dakota). If you are not sure if you are registered to vote, you can check on a few websites including Vote America. If you need to register to vote or to change your voter registration information, there are multiple ways to do it! Unless you live in Wyoming, you can print out the National Voter Registration Application Form for US Citizens, fill it out and mail it in to the address located under your state section on that form. 

Each state also has its own voter registration form that can be filled out and mailed in as well. 39 states also offer online voter registration. Every state has different deadlines for registration, so make sure you know the correct date for your state. With the constant uncertainty of this pandemic, it is safest to register under your permanent address rather than your college residence hall. Register now, do not wait!

In Person Voting

You should receive some mail informing you of your polling place. Polling places are different for everyone depending on your address. Make sure to bring valid forms of I.D. with you like an unexpired driver’s license or a current utility bill, paycheck or government document with your address on it. Make sure to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and sanitize before and after you vote. Arrive early (most polls open around 6:30 am) if you are concerned about large crowds.

Absentee Ballot 

Another way to vote is by mail. To do so, you must request a mail-in ballot from your state or county board of elections. Certain states are automatically sending absentee ballot requests in the mail to every registered voter. Do not wait to fill those in and send them back if you plan to vote by mail. You can even request an absentee ballot and drop it into highly secure drop boxes outside of your board of elections if you are not comfortable with mailing your ballot.

Early Voting

Photo by Gabriella Hayes

If you have obstacles that will inhibit your ability to present a valid I.D., you can choose to vote early. This process essentially entails that you will go to your county’s board of elections on the selected dates and times that they have available and vote then. Dates and times may vary, but you can typically vote as early as 30 days before election day. 

Poll Workers

Poll workers are very much needed this election. Senior citizens make up a majority of poll workers every election; and as you can imagine plenty of them are worried about their health during this pandemic and therefore not signing up to work the polls this year. If you are willing and able please sign up to work your local polls. 

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