Ways To Prepare To Vote Last Minute
Written By: Shannon Sweeney
It’s November already? Where did fall go, and why are Christmas trees already sprouting up? Wait, there’s an election coming up? Trust us, we know it’s hard to balance work, personal life, and the constant onslaught of political news. How do you keep up with political news when it’s constantly changing? And more importantly, what’re you going to do for the 2018 midterm election?
There’s a lot at stake for these upcoming elections in each and every state. But where do you find last-minute information on midterm candidates? We’re here to help answer some of the most commonly asked questions about going to the polls on November 6.
How to get informed (and fast)
There are a ton of resources to find out information about who’s running and what they stand for. The New York Times has an incredible interactive FAQ about midterm elections, including what’s at stake in Washington, how to find your polling location, and more.
Another fantastic resource: Ballotpedia. This website literally lets you put in your address and zip code and email address to find out exactly who is going to show up on your ballot. From there, you’ll get an entire list of candidates — including their background information, how they stand on current issues, and more. This is a one-stop shop for finding out how these candidates compare to your political views, giving you information you need to make a quick and informed decision.
When learning about different candidates, it’s important to fact check. With constantly new information being published every second, it’s hard to sift through what’s real and what’s not when it pertains to current events and political campaigns.
Here are some other amazing sources to reference:
Where to vote
This varies by state, but you can cast your vote in person by contacting your state/territorial election office for polling place and hours. This tool on USA.gov helps you find your election office based on the state you reside in. For New York, as an example, it’ll take you to the state website where you can easily look up your voter registration and where exactly you vote.
How to register
Voter registration varies by state. Some states have strict rules on when you can register, whereas other states let you register as late as the day of an election. This tool breaks it down state by state. If you missed your state’s deadline, register now for the next election and start getting informed early!
Why voting is important
People often get the idea that their vote doesn’t matter — but it does! Imagine if all of these doubters went to the polls. That’s probably hundreds of thousands — if not more — casting their vote. It can make a huge difference. Stand for what you believe in and elect someone to represent your viewpoints. If you want to enact change in your community, state, or nationwide, get out and vote. These candidates will represent you for years to come!
What you need to vote
Two-thirds of states require that you provide an ID when you vote at the poll. Bring a driver’s license, a military ID card, or a passport to be safe. You can look up your state’s voter ID requirements before election day to be prepared.
Who qualifies to vote
You can vote if:
You’re a US citizen
You meet your state’s residency requirements (you can be homeless and still meet these requirements)
Are 18 years old on or before election day (In some states, you can register to vote before you’re 18 if you will be 18 on Nov. 6)
Are registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline
No matter what your political stance is, your opinion and your vote matters — so get educated and get to the polls!