Ready to vote but don't know where to start?
Education: Life Skills 101
Education: Stuff You Should Know
Voting is a right and privilege for citizens in the United States who exercise it in national elections such as for the President. This also includes statewide elections for Senator and Governor, district elections for US Congressmen, and local elections that involve county or city officials such as the mayor, other members of the governing body and certain positions such as judges and commissioners.
Voting is regulated by the states which means that there are currently 51 election boards which includes the District of Columbia that set the rules and regulations for voting. While there are 51 different sets of rules, the procedures for registering and voting in each state and Washington D.C. are mostly similar.
How To Register To VoteYou will need to register with the election board in your county. This will mean finding the office where you can register to vote which may be in the county seat or choosing a local office in your community. Registering to vote is fairly simple as most states require that you are at least 18 years old and a citizen of the United States.
Some states may also require having proper identification such as a driver’s license or birth certificate in order to verify your age and citizenship. However, you will need to check with your local election board for the exact rules. Also, in some states you can simply fill out a voter registration form and mail it in to the election board.
Once you fill out a short form which will include your current address, you’ll probably receiver a Voter Identification Card which you will show when voting. You may be asked to indicate your party affiliation which includes Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Democrats and Republicans are eligible to vote in their respective primaries while Independents may not participate in most states. However, there are exceptions in states that have open primary rules where party affiliation does not apply.
Every community has a location where people can vote on election day such as a school or church. There, you can cast your vote for those who are running for office on the designated day.
Those Who Are Ineligible To VoteGenerally speaking, in order to vote you must be at least 18 years old. However, there are a few exceptions such as those who are not citizens of the US even if they reside inside the borders and those who have been convicted of a felony may not vote.
How To Choose Your CandidateThere are no set criteria for choosing your candidate as the choice is entirely up to you. Generally speaking, to make the most informed choice you will want to know about the candidate’s positions on issues that you care about and something about their background which indicates their experience and character.
Once you have made your decision, you will generally go to your local voting poll or station on the designated voting day and fill out the ballot with the candidates of your choice. During general elections, party affiliation does not apply to who you can cast your vote.
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