It’s widely acknowledged that we all need to vote, and that our vote (and every vote) matters. We know that more than ever making our voices heard and out opinions known at the polls is crucial for the fate of our nation. But what many of us don’t know is where we even go to vote. It seems like a minute detail, but if you show up to the wrong polling location and you’re not prepared to actually cast your ballot you could miss your opportunity to have a say in our future president.
Trust us, you don’t want to let a little misunderstanding or an innocent error in planning be the reason you don’t vote on November 3rd, 2020. And with primary elections occurring as early as this coming February, now would be a pretty good time to get all of your voting ducks in a row.
The good news is that voter turnout is on the rise, with the 2018 Midterm Elections seeing record turnout and historic highs across racial and ethnic groups. Latino voters in particular saw a huge jump, nearly doubling since the 2014 midterm elections, according to a Pew Research Report. That being said, a large portion of the population still did not practice their right to vote in recent elections. For some of those people, they didn’t vote due to barriers keeping them from the polls. For others, it’s a simple lack of information — not knowing when or where to cast a ballot. And that lack of information should never be the reason that someone can’t or won’t vote.
Getting prepared to cast your vote in 2020 is a fairly simple process.
First, confirm you are registered to vote, because confirming you are eligible to vote and that all of your registration information is complete is the first step in ensuring your vote is cast. But equally important, you need to know where to vote.
You can find out your polling location by visiting Vote.org and looking up voter information for your state. You’ll be directed to your state’s voter information lookup site, where you can enter basic information (your name, registered voting address and birth date, for example) to search for your voter registration profile, voter precinct and polling location. And be sure to double-check your polling place before you go vote, as locations can change last minute.
Another important thing to remember that some states offer early voting opportunities, when you can cast your ballot in person in the days leading up to Election Day. The rules governing early voting vary from state to state, but many districts allow early voting at locations that may differ from your precinct’s polling location. Be sure to look up the early voting or absentee voting regulations for your state here, and then look up where early voting will take place if that is an appealing option for you. Remember that voting should not be optional, but rather a crucial part of your role as a citizen of this country — a nation in desperate need of a political makeover — and every vote counts. If voting on Election Day is not a realistic option for you, or is a process you’re concerned about, then early voting might be the perfect solution.
With so many options, online tools and state-specific websites dedicated to helping you prepare to vote, register to vote and actually locate your polling location, there really is no excuse not to cast a ballot. Use the resources available to you and make your voice heard. Remember that your vote could help determine the future of this country, so get out and vote.