I must admit, I’m truly very shocked that when I typed “#National” into a tweet just now, #NationalVoterRegistrationDay wasn’t an option in the dropdown of suggestions. Guess we need to try harder to get National Voter Registration Day into the trending topics. To do that, I’m here to give you some tips for registering to vote. Please keep in mind that this information applies to voting the United States of America.
Why should I register to vote?
Believe me, I understand how hopeless it feels in the current political climate. I’ve been spending much of the recent months tuning out the presidential primary race when debates aren’t on and pretending our country isn’t always seconds from metaphorically imploding. But that’s all the more reason we need to vote and to be informed when we do.
Whether it’s this general election for local offices or the next general election for President and other federal offices, we need to elect people that represent what people in this country actually want.
I’m not here to tell you who to vote for (at least not in the upcoming general election…); I’m just here to say that you should consider it a privilege. People all over the country are trying to silence voters of marginalized groups, so if you’re an eligible citizen with the opportunity to vote, then please vote for the silenced voices if not for yourself.
How to Register
Most states allow their citizens to register online, but a handful of states still doesn’t. That means if your state is not listed below, you must register in person or by paper ballot. (More about that in a second.)
If your state doesn’t allow online registration, you can usually download a PDF of the voter registration form and mail it in. Here is information on registering to vote in person or by mail.
|New Hampshire||New Jersey||North Carolina||North Dakota||South Dakota|
What are we voting for?
The 2019 general elections are mostly for smaller offices like school board, county commissioner, and district attorney. However, that doesn’t mean the elections aren’t important. “Revolution begins at home” is a common phrase, right? Anyway, you can find a sample ballot at VOTE411. Just enter some information about where you reside and they’ll tell you what offices you’re voting on and who your options are. Some polling areas might even be voting on referendums, so check for that, too!
So When Do We Vote?
General elections are held on the first Tuesday of November every year, and the next one if November 5th, 2019. Whereas primary elections are on different days in late-winter to mid-summer for each state, general elections are held on the same day for all 50 states.
That means, at the time of my posting this, we only have 42 days until we vote! And even less time to register to be able to vote in that election in most states. You can find a list of registration deadlines on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website. More details about these deadlines can also be found on VOTE411’s page about each state. Remember to update your registration if you move to a new address!
Any more tips?
Check your voter registration! Check it at least a month or two before an election! Keep checking it in the weeks leading up to the election! Better yet, make a habit of checking it once a month! You can do that at Vote.org.
What are some other resources I can check out for National Voter Registration Day?
I’m glad you’re excited to learn about voting! Please be sure to look at these other wonderful people doing everything they can to help others vote.
- National Voter Registration Day – They’ll give you everything you need to know about voting in your area, and if they don’t have the answer, they know how to point you in the right direction.
- VOTE411 keeps it pretty simple while giving you the info you need.
What are some organizations I should stay away from?
NextGen America. If they come to your campus, report them. The organization has a bad history of registering people improperly, leaving them ineligible to vote on election day. They’re also particularly good at preying on new voters.
As a best practice, research a group before registering to vote through their services, or at the very least, check your voter registration a couple of days after filling out a paper ballot that isn’t being mailed in by you.