Understand the Ballot and Make Sure You are Prepared to Vote

by Kristen Muthig, Communications and Policy Manager

CVP posted our Six Reasons to Vote last week highlighting some reasons students in particular should be sure to cast a ballot tomorrow, November 3. This Election Day many states and cities have local issues and candidates on the ballot. They may not have as much media buzz and excitement as a presidential campaign, but that doesn’t make them any less important. The direct impact local politics has on Election Day infographiceveryday life is a significant reason to cast a ballot tomorrow.

In reality, the people who will sit on school boards and city council, or as mayor and state representative will make more decisions that directly, and at times immediately, impact the cities or towns we live in than state or nationwide officials will. Many issues like funding for higher education, job training, business development, voting rules, and the condition of parks, libraries, roads, and bridges we all use are in the purview of local officials.

Despite their influence on daily life, a lack of information about the offices, the issues, and even how to cast a ballot can deter young people from voting in these crucial elections. Depending on the state and community there can be different sources for information on the candidates and issues. However, groups like the League of Women Voters regional offices often have nonpartisan voting guides (you can find them online at www.Vote411.org), secretaries of state may explain what the issues are like this one in Ohio, and local newspapers often have information on what you’ll see on the ballot.

Before casting an informed ballot, voters must also overcome any barriers to the ballot box. Before you go to the polls make sure you are ready:

  • Check your voter registration status on your secretary of state’s or local board of election’s website
  • Look up your polling location and the hours the polls are open
  • Find transportation to your polling place and set a time to go
  • Check if your state requires ID to vote and make sure you bring proper ID if it does

Be ready when you go to cast your ballot at your polling location, and make your voice heard in these important local elections. If you do have any issues attempting to vote call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

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