Most people, me included before I got into this political arena, just assume that anybody can sign up to vote.
Now that will come as reassurance to those who have mistakenly thought that immigrants and foreigners could just walk in and vote in their community. Also not true.
Let me give you some FACTS that, quite frankly, you should have gotten by 12th grade, but maybe you were flirting with a cute boy/girl, slept through it, were passing notes, or whatever was going on that day. (Hey, I’m older, but I remember!)
- Must be a CITIZEN OF THE U.S.A. This is non-negotiable.
- Must be a RESIDENT of the State where you plan on voting. This is your legal residence, not your auntie’s, grandmother’s, or best friend’s. You have to pay taxes here.
- Must be a real address-not a P.O. Box. Nobody lives in postal boxes.
- You MUST have the required government issued identification. If you do not have one, you can get one for free at the Elections Office or the DMV if you provide the correct paperwork. See here.
- If you need assistance with voting of any kind, there are always places to call to get help. It is no problem to come to you if you can just let somebody know ahead of time. Possible solutions might include:
- Getting a ride to/from the poll
- Help with voting on the automated system
- Help with applying for and then properly voting on an absentee ballot
- Knowing who is running for which seat and what the issues are
- Making sure that your name is still on the voting rolls/reregistering to vote
- Getting the correct identification in order to vote
- If you vote EARLY, you must know where the Early Voting in your county of residence is being held.
- Currently, if you want to vote Absentee, you have to request those ballots EVERY YEAR and for EVERY ELECTION (with a few narrow exceptions.) Be careful of deadlines. The General Assembly made the timelines exceptionally short.
- On Election Day, you MUST go to the precinct poll that you were assigned to on your voting card. (If you don’t remember where that is, look here.)
Remember to register to vote using the SAME NAME that is on your ID and your TAX RECORDS. This is extremely important. Why? Because if you use anything different, the poll worker will tell you that you cannot vote and they will not let you in. End of discussion. The law is on their side.
That’s the ‘nuts and bolts’ of voting. Of course, being knowledgeable about EVERY election is critical. There is no such thing as an unimportant election. They all matter. Local elections matter as much or more than the big ones. Why? Because those are the elections that determine your electric rates, what happens when your dog barks too much while the guy next door who works 3rd shift is trying to sleep, or the neighbor’s kids dam up the culvert playing and your basement floods as a result. Yeah, that stuff. We don’t think about it until it happens, but doggone, it matters.
I need your support as much now as ever. I’m trying to build up my campaign “bank” so I can work harder next year. Will you help by making monthly contributions of $5?