How and Why You Should Register to Vote

Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash

I’m frustrated. I’m angry. My elected officials don’t represent me, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I am a proud American— voting in every election since I’ve been eligible. I’ve performed my civic duty to vote— I love it. For my 19th birthday I voted in the presidential primary, because, not only do I get a say in how my government runs, I get a say in who represents me...except I don’t.

According to the Center for American Progress, I belong to the largest block of eligible voters, yet it seems like none of us vote. Millennials make up the largest part of the electorate, however we’re the least likely to vote, and therefore the least likely to get anything done on our behalf.

Politicians don’t run for us, they run for our parents and grandparents. They run on behalf of the lobbies that contribute to their campaign donations. They pass legislation that doesn’t represent our wants or our needs. They are looking towards a future that somehow doesn’t include us, the literal future of this country. It’s time we as the future generation of United States’ leaders demand our country works for us just as much as we work for it. We aren’t lazy, we aren’t entitled, we are working towards the tomorrow we want and need. A tomorrow where our elected officials represent our interests and values.

The best way to make sweeping change is to get out to the polls, but we can’t do that until we’re registered to vote. It’s pretty simple to get registered in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma voter registration process is simple: all you need to do is pick up an Oklahoma Voter Registration Application from the Oklahoma State Election Board Website, or from your local tag agency. Fill out the form and mail it to the State Election Board or leave it at your tag agency and they will mail it on your behalf for free.

Assuming you are legally eligible to vote (18 years or older, not a felon, a legal resident of the state, etc.), in a few short weeks your voter ID card will be sent to you. Your voter ID is required to vote in Oklahoma and has all of your important voter information on it. It has your political affiliation, your polling place location, and the precinct you are located in.

For out of state residents (people serving in the military, out of state college students, residents of Oklahoma who won’t be in the state during elections) and anyone who doesn’t want to go into the polls in person, there is an absentee ballot. It is incredibly easy to register as absentee, and can even be done online.

There is also a paper application that can be found at your county election board or online. Once you fill out your application make sure that you mail it to your county election board before 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before an election day. Once you receive an absentee ballot you must have it delivered by mail to your county election board by 7 p.m. the day before an election day.

Absentee ballots in Oklahoma are not counted if they are not notarized, which can be done at almost any bank for free, as it is against the law in Oklahoma to charge a notary fee for absentee ballots, or if they are received after the 7pm deadline on the day before the election.

You must fill out the absentee ballot affidavit, a promise that you are legally voting and that it is you filling out the ballot, in front of the notary public otherwise it is not legally binding and it will not be accepted

We can’t foster change if we don’t show up to use the tools we’re given. We are the largest and most underrepresented voter block— let’s change this fact. Midterm elections are in Nov. 2018— we are voting on a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, some state representatives, and several state questions including a measure on medicinal marijuana.

It is time to put our voice to use. It is time to be properly represented by our legislators and elected officials. It is time to demand we be heard in local, state, and national elections. It is time to take control of our lives. What better way than by making our legislators work for us?