Tuesday, October 19, 2004

How to Vote

With all of the talk on the news lately about disenfranchisement and voter irregularities from the 2000 election and how it will happen again, I thought this would be a good time to talk about how to vote. It seems that many of the problems with the 2000 vote were attributed to confusion among voters. In an effort to do my part in eliminating confusion here is my step by step guide on how to vote:

1. Register – In order to vote in the election you must be a registered voter. Each state has there own process for registering. You can usually find out how to vote by checking your states voter registration instruction on-line. Google is a great tool for finding this info. Arizona has an on-line registration form or you can request the form be mailed to you. I am sure almost every state has a similar system. To be a registered voter you MUST BE A US CITIZEN. This is crucial. Most states may have additional prohibitions against felons voting. Check your local laws. There is a deadline to register – most states require that you submit your registration form no less than 30 days from the elections. If you send it in later too bad, you will not be voting in this election, but you will be registered for the next election. Never register from partisan hacks that come to your door or approach you in the mall. They cannot be trusted and if you register for a party they are not being paid by, your form may just end up in the trash.

2. Review your sample ballot and voting guide – Once you have been registered to vote you will receive your voter registration card and the voting guide. The voting guide will have a sample ballot. Read these materials, they will give all the info on the various candidates and propositions that are on the ballot. The sample ballot also has the information about where you are to vote. This is extremely important – you can only vote in you assigned precinct and your assigned polling place. If you don’t know where it is call the number on the ballot and get directions. Drive to the polling place before the election so you know how to get there.

3. Vote – This is the point of the whole process. Don’t go through steps one and two and then forget to vote on Election Day! When you arrive at the polling place you will need to sign in. They should have a list of registered votes for the polls. If you are in the right place, and you are a registered voter, your name will be on the list. Depending on your state’s laws you may need to show ID or a voter registration card. Be prepared to do this if required. If your name is not on the list you may request a provisional ballot. Follow the instructions on this ballot, but be warned, there is no guarantee that the provisional ballot will be counted. Once you are given you ballot and are in the voting booth READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! There will be instructions on the ballot as well as instruction in the voting booth. If you do not understand how to vote ask a volunteer. Vote.

That’s all there is too it! Remember, voting is a right and a responsibility and like any other responsibility you must be willing to do your part. See you on Election Day!

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