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Things to Know Before You Vote for the 2024 Election

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Manhattan chapter.

Growing up, I always felt very passionate about social justice issues, and I so desperately wanted to feel like I had a voice for my country, and that I could make a difference. So, when I turned 18, one of the things, I was most excited about was being able to vote, to have this voice, and to have a say about the issues going on in my country. I voted for the first time in 2022, and I am beyond excited to be able to vote in my first presidential election this coming fall. To ensure you feel ready and prepared this election season, let me tell you what you should know before you vote. 

Voting Eligibility and How to Register

First things first, are you eligible to vote this season? You can vote in the upcoming presidential election if you are a U.S. citizen, meet your state’s residency requirements, are at least 18 years old on or before election day, and are registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline. In New York, you need to be registered 10 days before Election Day, if you are registering in-person or online, and if you are registering by mail, it must be post-marked 15 days before Election Day and received 10 days prior. Each state has different registration deadlines, so make sure you check out your specific state’s requirements, which can be checked out here. This website will also give you information and the proper websites to register to vote in each state, for New York, specifically, you can learn the specific requirements on this website. There are different pros and cons to registering in person, by mail, or online, so check out the website, and find out which works best for you. I couldn’t register online because I did not have a New York driver’s license, so I had to register by mail and use my passport as my form of identification. Figure out, what form of registration works best for you, and make sure you register in time for the election. 

How to vote

If you are already registered to vote, or about to register to vote, you are already one step closer to being able to vote this November! Now let’s talk about how you can vote on election day. This website in particular I find very helpful, as you can select the state you are voting in, and it will show you all the upcoming federal, state, and local elections. Further, it gives you the registration deadline, the absentee ballot request, and the return deadline, as well as when early voting is available. This is especially helpful, in case you know you are not going to be in town on election day, it ensures that you are still able to vote by either voting early or applying in time for an absentee ballot. I always try to vote early, as I found that the polling stations are typically less busy then, and I pick a time that works the best for me and my class schedule. Additionally, you can find your polling location here, it will give your early voting polling location and its hours, and your election day voting polling location and its hours. 

Candidates for the Election and How to Find Their Policies

We are currently still going through the primary election, so we do not know exactly who will be the specific candidates for each party, however, there is a presumptive candidate for both the Republican and Democratic parties based on popularity and current primary election status. These two candidates are current President Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The Democratic Party will announce its official nomination in August 2024, and the Republican Party will announce its official nomination in July 2024. If these parties or candidates do not speak to your values, there are also a few Independent, Libertarian, and Green Party candidates as well in this upcoming election. The best way to learn the values of each of the candidates is obviously through the news and each candidate’s website. However, sometimes I find that new channels can have an obvious bias, and I do not feel like I am getting the most neutral information to make a more informed decision. I recently found this website where you can research political candidates for federal, state, and local elections that gives you unbiased facts about each candidate. They also inform you if the information they got is direct quotes from the candidate or interviews/news sources. Some of the information, they give you is their positions on certain issues, their biography, important votes they may have made on bills, who is funding them, and speeches they made. I seriously have found it so helpful, and I especially like to look at their positions for specific issues that I find extremely important to me. I often come up with a couple of deal-breaker policies for myself and see which politicians align with these policies/positions. These could be economic policies, education, healthcare, equality rights, etc. Find the policies you are extremely passionate about, and make sure the candidate you want to vote for endorses and supports these values. 

I hope this helped you feel more prepared for this upcoming election season, and happy voting!

Cara Loganadhan

Manhattan '26

Hi I am Cara! I am a sophomore at Manhattan College majoring in Finance and Global Business. I love creative writing in my free time, in fact, growing up my dream was to become an author. I grew up in Toronto Canada, but was born in Houston, Texas. Living in a city for all my life, has only made love for all things New York so much stronger. In my free time, I love exploring new thrift stores, flea markets, restaurants, museums, and parks. I also have a strong passion to travel, I have participated in 2 different study abroad programs, one in Summer 2023 to Vienna, Salzburg and Prague, and then finally one this Winter 2024 to Singapore. I hope to continue to travel and explore the world through my college career and future endeavors.