If you’re planning to vote on election day, you’ll need to do more than simply decide which candidate to support. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a presidential election, but it’s important to also take the time to make sure your voter registration is up-to-date, so you’ll be eligible to cast your vote on election day.
Voter Registration Guidelines
Voters must typically be at least 18 years old, but a few states have a voting age of 17. For specific state-by-state requirements, check this American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) voting rights guide.
According to USA.gov, most states allow voters to register by mail using the National Mail Voter Registration Form. The only places in the country that do not accept voter registration by mail are North Dakota, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Voters in New Hampshire can only use the form as a request for an absentee voter mail-in registration form.
Most states have a voter registration deadline, so it’s important to keep track of the cut-off date for your state so you don’t miss the chance to vote on election day.
Helpful Tips for Election Day
Follow these tips from the National Association of Secretaries of State for successful voting on election day:
- Check Your Voter Registration: Don’t wait until election day to make sure your voter registration card reflects your current address. Visit canivote.org to see if your registration is up-to-date.
- Know Where to Vote: Make sure you know where your polling place is before election day, as you don’t want to risk not being able to find the location, especially if you’re new to the area.
- Bring Proper ID: You don’t want to miss your chance to vote in the presidential election because you didn’t bring correct identification to the polling place, so contact your local election office to ensure that you’re properly prepared to vote.
- Do Your Homework: Although the presidential election will be the main focus at the polls on Nov. 6, 2012, that’s not the only job up for grabs. Learn more about the other candidates on the ballot, so you’re able to make an informed decision on who you believe will be the best person for the job.
- Avoid the Crowds: Voting lines can get very long on election day, especially during a presidential election, so if possible, it’s best to try to vote during off-peak hours to avoid the crowds. Typically the busiest times at polling places are early morning, lunchtime, and evening, so if you have the ability to go during the mid-morning or mid-afternoon hours you’d be wise to do so.
As the presidential election is a historical event that only takes place once every four years, it’s important to take the time to enjoy the experience. The outcome of election day will change history, and voters get to be a part of it.
Author: Laura Jerpi