With the November election coming up before you know it, here’s a quick look at how to vote, what to know, how ballots are being tracked this year, and how those too young to vote can get involved.
Check Your Registration Status
Are you already registered to vote? In the 2016 elections, almost 92 million eligible voters did not register to vote. Be one of the many that make a change in our political system.
If you’ve changed your address or your name, you might have to re-register. You can check if you registered here. If you haven’t, you can still register in-person with same-day voter registration.
Know Your Voting Rights
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has an easy, comprehensive guide to help you understand your voting rights. For example, if you do not speak English well, you are entitled to translation assistance from a person of your choice. Or if you are a disabled voter, each polling place is required to be fully accessible to senior citizens and voters with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements. Time to Vote is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping employees manage the time to vote. Election Day is always the first Tuesday of every November. A longtime controversy, Jacob Soboroff, executive director of Why Tuesday?, states that voting on Tuesday is the number one detriment to voter turnout. Why Tuesday? advocates for weekend voting. Instead of choosing between working on Tuesday or making time to get to the polls, Time to Vote helps employees across America who can’t afford a day off consider early voting or voting-by-mail.
Stay in the Loop
You can do your part by learning about the candidates and informing your friends and family about the importance of voting.
The following news sources have exclusive pages on coverage of the 2020 election. Bookmark or make the links your homepage to keep up-to-date with the latest information: NowThis / The New York Times / Newsweek
Election Day Voting
On election day, Tuesday November 3, if you’ve voted before, you don’t need to provide an ID to vote. If it is your first time voting, you will have to provide a valid form of identification.
Valid forms of identification include:
- A copy of a current and valid photo identification (driver’s license, passport)
- A copy of a lease or contract for residence, student ID & mail addressed to your residence
- A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and address
If you are unable to provide ID, you will vote via a provisional ballet. Afterwards, you will be required to submit proof of registration to the election authority by the close of the business on the Tuesday following the election.
Personally Delivered Ballots
If you want to bring your ballot to a polling station, they must be delivered by close of polls on November 3, 2020.
Track Your Mail-In Ballot
Mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before November 3, 2020, and received by your county elections office no later than November 20, 2020.
Given that all registered voters in California will receive a mail-in ballot this year, the state has rolled out a new system that allows you to track your ballot every step of the way. Launched in 2012, Denver-based BallotTrax has flawlessly monitored ballots in more than 300 U.S. elections. The only information BallotTrax needs is your first name, last name, year and/or date of birth and zip code. And don’t worry about privacy — the service follows your envelope, but not your vote remains confidential through the entire process. A bonus is that a close tracking system not only gives voters peace of mind — it can also lend more legitimacy to election results, as it addresses concerns about potentially stolen or lost ballots. Sign up to follow yours here.
Local Voting Initiative: Promoting Civic Engagement in High Schoolers
It’s important to form good habits early in life and this ethos applies to things beyond healthy eating and regular flossing. In that vein, the county has created a high school elections ambassador program to get Marin’s teens engaged in local politics and make them more mindful of voting. The main objectives of the initiative are to pre-register sixteen and seventeen-year-old students, to register eligible students to vote, and to expand the county’s high school poll worker program to reach more students and increase participation. Students from any high school in the county can participate and will serve as a crucial link between the Elections Department and their peers. All the resources and tools for registering students and to carry out voter drives at high schools will be provided. Learn more here.
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