I interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to remind my US-based readers to VOTE! Election day is TODAY, November 6, and voting is the most important thing you can do to make your voice heard in government (other than maybe running for office).
Even if you haven’t registered, you may still be able to vote if you live in a state with same-day voter registration. States with same-day registration include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C.
If you don’t know where your polling place is, you can find that out at https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/.
Note that you may need up to two government-issued IDs in order to be able to vote, depending on what state you live in. Make sure you check that you have everything you need to vote before heading out to the polling place. State-specific voting information can be found on your state government website.
If you are voting by mail (only available in some states), ensure that your ballot is postmarked by November 6, 2018, for it to count. Or, better yet, if you are able, you can physically drop off your ballot at your polling station in some places.
If you don’t know who to vote for, check out the voter’s guide for your state and/or county (just Google “voting guide [insert your location]”). You’re not obligated to vote for every issue on the ballot (it’s great if you do!), but if you choose not to vote in some races, be aware that it’s local legislators and issues (city, county, district, state, then federal) that will likely impact your life most directly.
If you need any additional information, you can find it online at usa.gov/election-day, or you can ask a polling worker. If someone tells you you can’t vote and you’re pretty sure you’re over 18, a US citizen, registered, have valid ID (if necessary), and meet any other requirements to vote in your state, make sure to double check your voting rights: unfortunately, voter suppression does happen, and it happens more frequently to people of color (particularly black people) so be aware of your rights.
If you don’t know why voting is so important: there are a lot of important issues on the ballot this year! Your Congressperson is up for reelection, and one of your Senators may be too. Even if you feel that you live in a majority-red or -blue area so your vote doesn’t count, you’d be surprised! A lot of races for local-level positions (or not-so-local-level positions) are a lot more contested than you’d think. YOUR VOTE MATTERS. (Also, you get a really cool sticker!)