Voting & Your Rights to Vote
by Tracy E. Hill, Ph.D.
Did you know that Saudi women got the right to vote just a few years ago (2015)? And in Turkey and Belgium, voting is mandatory with more than 85% of citizens showing up to the polls. In the 2010 Rwanda elections, more than 97% of the people showed up to vote and cast their ballot. Yes, citizens may have been coerced to vote in Rwanda, but vote they did. In the United States, the average voter turnout hovers around 50% since the 1920’s. With the exception of the 2008 election which brought out 62% of American voters to the polls, our nation has consistently been at half mast. Fifty percent of Americans exercising their right to vote for equality, justice, freedom, democracy, and all things that each American believes in and fights for each day. Where are the other fifty percent of Americans? Whether you are Republican or Democratic – we urge you to exercise your right and honor to vote this year!
If you are not sure if you are registered to vote, check and make sure at: https://www.vote.org/. Regardless of which state you live in, this site will guide you. You will need an email address for this site. If you do not have an email, use: https://www.register2vote.org. Check to see if your children are registered and if they are not registered, tell them to register to vote if they are eligible!
If your information is incorrect because you moved or changed your name, make sure to update it.
If you are not certain where your polling place is located, check on https://www.vote.org or contact your location election office at https://www.usa.gov/election-office.
When you register to vote, keep the receipt of your registration. Take a screenshot or photo of it so you do not lose the receipt as evidence of your registration.
When you vote, take a screenshot of your ballot and receipt from voting!
If you are a prior felon, request a restoration of your voting rights by contacting https://www.brennancenter.org for help.
Make sure you have the correct identification needed before you head to your polling place. Since 2008, many states reverted back to requiring a state specific identification in which to vote. If you do not have the correct identification with you, request a provisional ballot and cast your vote!
Remember that the lines may be long and you may have to stand for hours. Consider taking the day off from work so you do not have to stress about being late (or fired) for work.
Bring a) bottled water, b) a mask, c) a lightweight chair if needed, d) snacks. We also recommend that you bring your small children so they learn how to vote. We lead and teach by example.
If the poll closes while you are still in line, stay in line. You have the right to vote.
If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one. You have the right to a new ballot.
Take your time. Voting is not timed. You have the right to take the time you need to vote.
If the ballot machine is not working, ask for a paper ballot. You have the right for a paper ballot.
If your name is not on the list when you arrive, ask for and fill out a Provisional Ballot. You have the right to vote on a provisional ballot.
If you have any problems while voting, call the national Voter Helpline at 866-687-8683 (866-OUR-VOTE).
Keep the Democracy for our Republic. Exercise your right to vote!
Photo by author.