The right to vote is one of the foundations of democracy. Exercising that right is vital to creating a nation where everyone feels as though their voice has been heard.
Given the significance of voting and all that the right to vote symbolizes for so many people, Election Day is an incredibly important day on the American calendar. In recognition of that significance, voters can consider these tips to prepare for Election Day so they can exercise their right to vote as efficiently as possible.
Make sure you’re registered to vote
With the exception of North Dakota, each state has its own voter registration deadlines, and voters must register prior to those deadlines in order to vote on Election Day. Voters can visit the US Vote Foundation at usvotefoundation.org to view the election dates and deadlines in their states and U.S. territories. Voters who know they are not registered can visit Vote.gov to begin the registration process.
Find your polling place
Voters cannot simply vote at any polling place. Each voter is assigned a polling place, and that place is generally within close proximity to a voter’s home. Local schools or churches often serve as polling locations, but the official guide to government information and services USA.gov urges voters to contact their state or territorial election office in advance of Election Day to determine their designated polling place. Voters who received sample ballots in the mail also can check those ballots to see if their polling place is listed.
Know the ID requirements
Voter ID requirements vary from state to state, so voters are urged to determine what is required to vote at their local polling place. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a detailed, state-by-state list of voter identification requirements that can be accessed for free at ncsl.org. Voters who are uncertain about the ID requirements at their local polling place are urged to visit the site in advance of Election Day so they know what to expect and can meet all ID requirements when they show up to vote.
Study your sample ballot
Sample ballots can help voters familiarize themselves with candidates in local and national elections. Studying these ballots in advance and learning what each candidate stands for can help voters make the most informed voting decision.
Individuals who still have questions about what to expect on Election Day can visit USAGov.