In case you didn’t already have enough things occupying your mind this year, we have the 2020 election coming up. Important local, state, and federal measures are going to be up for a vote. Not to mention that little thing about voting for president, as well as other representatives.
Election Day is on November 3, 2020. That may seem like a while, but there’s a lot you should try and do beforehand to ensure you’re prepared. To make sure you’re really ready to participate in this year’s general election, you should:
-Get registered to vote
-Learn more about candidates and measures
-Find out when and how you can vote
-Be willing to adapt
Register to Vote
If you have recently moved or have never voted before, now is the time to make sure that you’re registered to vote at your current address. Each state may have their own specific eligibility requirements. But you usually need to, at least, be of a minimum age and have a valid state-issued ID card in order to be considered eligible to vote.
Educate Yourself on Candidates and Measures
Many people vote with their heart or along party lines. However, it is to your benefit to really know who and what it is you’re voting for.
The sheer number of candidates and proposed measures–not to mention the often convoluted language used in such measures–can make research seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. There are a number of resources available that can present you with the most salient points about a candidate or measure, as well as a general summary of what a “yes” or “no” vote could actually mean. Then, if you want to look beyond the highlights, you have the option to look into the details.
You could also do your own deeper research on the people and issues that really matter to you. Go beyond the political pages to really learn more about things, starting with a general online search or a specialized public records search.
Know How and When to Vote
COVID-19 and precautions to avoid it have complicated the voting process this year. In-person voting will probably still exist, but in a much more restricted format to meet social distancing requirements. If that is still the method of voting that you prefer, be sure to check with your local polling place to see what their specific process will be on Election Day.
Or you may opt to vote from a longer distance. In many states, there is the option of absentee voting (in which a voter requests a mail-in ballot), or universal vote by mail. This year, especially, many states have made it easier for voters to request ballots this way and avoid any issues with the coronavirus. An actual excuse to vote by mail may not be needed, which is why it’s also called No-Excuse Absentee balloting.
There has been some concern about providing increased accessibility to mail-in voting, and especially worries about increased voter fraud. But such concerns do not seem to be stopping the mail-in movement.
Be Prepared to Adapt
Just when you think things are set in stone, they aren’t. Election Day is November 3, right? Well, even as I write this, the subject of delaying it has been broached. It doesn’t seem likely, but who knows? If you really want to make sure your vote counts this year, just be ready to roll with any changes.
Image attribution: Photo by 3dfoto – www.shutterstock.com