National Sign Up to Vote Day Just Happened

There has been an overwhelming push to get people to register to vote since the last major election. Everything from Google, to YouTube, USA Today and Snapchat had links to registering pages on September 25th, but is it really that easy to register to vote?

Actually yes.

If you’re signing up online, all you need is your license and five minutes. Search “voter registration form” and you can put in your state as well, it should come right up. If you prefer to do it on paper, you can find the registration forms at your town hall. You can either enter the last four digits of your social security or use your license like before, the process is very straight forward.

The only tricky part is signing up to vote early enough to be able to vote in the next election. Only eleven states and the District of Columbia have same day voting. Every state is different, for example in Massachusetts you need to register by October 17th if you want to vote on November 6th. It can vary from eight days to thirty days depending on your state; I suggest checking on https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/ to check what the deadline is for your area. You can even register on this website.

I believe what stops people the most from registering is choosing their party. Many people who originally identified as republican are now confused by the conservatism that Donald Trump represents. On the same note, many liberal values are misconstrued by the current administration. So what are the core values of these parties?  

The core conservative values are a small national government, lower taxes, anti-abortion, personal responsibility, free enterprise, strict interpretation of the Constitution, and strong military. Democrats believe in a strong central government, social aid to the public (such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security), equal opportunity, pro-choice, environmental protection, fluid interpretation of the Constitution, and military services. If you feel like you may fall in between these parties, you can chose to to be an Independent, but you are still responsible to vote in elections. Now these lists don’t apply to every person nor are they completely comprehensive, but it should help to give a baseline to picking your party.

So, now that you’re registered, how do you vote?

Your state will send out a notice that your registration is complete and it will give you the location of where you vote. Some states require an I.D. while others do not; it is always a good idea to check before you head out to the polls. If you’re like me and at college, going home to vote isn’t always practice. In this case you can fill out an absentee ballot. Often times you have to apply for one and then it needs to be sent in up to a month in advance before the actual election date. You can find an absentee ballot for your state and the criteria at the same website listed above. If you want to find out the deadline for your state, check out http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/early-voting-in-state-elections.aspx​ .

There is no excuse to not vote. I strongly feel that it is everyone’s civic duty to cast their opinion and speak their truth. Just one vote can make a huge impact.