October 17, 2019

Guide for first-time voters

Voting is an inalienable right for every American. While we won’t be voting for president for over a year, there will be primaries and caucuses in Missouri on March 10, 2020, and Illinois on March 17, 2020.

Missouri doesn’t accept same-day voter registration so taking time to register before elections begin is essential. As a first time voter myself, it can be overwhelming, but it’s important to be informed and prepared to vote when the time comes.

1.Register to vote: 

Voter registration isn’t federally managed so each state has different requirements on what you need to bring with you when you register. Since this is a college campus there are a lot of students from out-of-state who don’t always meet Missouri standards . This could create confusion on how to register to vote but most states have electronic registration as an option. This eliminates the need to go to your hometown courthouse. Everything you need to register to vote is on your electronic device.

2. Know the issues:

After you’ve registered to vote it might seem like the time to look at the candidacy pool and figure out who to vote for. While that could easily be the second step I believe it’s more important to know what issues define the election. Watch the debates, listen to the news, heck even get on Twitter to check out what’s being discussed by the candidates. Once you know the issues you care the most about it’s easier to find a candidate you support because now you know what political issues are important to you.

3. Get informed on candidates:

Once you’ve decided what issues are most important to you, it’s time to look into which candidate best represents your interests. While there isn’t a perfect president, senator or mayor out there it is still essential you aren’t getting biased information. Don’t just listen to any single political website you find. Check out multiple organizations that will give you the information you need. Make sure to take due diligence to get the proper information. Websites like rockthevote.org are extremely helpful when it comes to this step.

4. Check state regulations and rules:

Again, voting isn’t federally managed so the rules and regulations for each state are different. It is very important to check what you’re required to bring to vote. Most voting stations are open for at least 12 hours on election day so students and those with busy schedules have more than enough time to vote. If you are a new voter it is a federal law that you bring a valid photo ID, or a bill, pay stub, or another government document that shows their name, photo and current address. Many states also allow absentee ballots so if you’re out of state this would be essential for you to look into unless you plan on going home to vote.

5. Get out and VOTE!

Now, the steps that make all the other ones worth it – voting. It is essential to vote so that every group is represented in the polls so you get elected officials that represent your interest. Young adults and students are the fewest in numbers when voter registration is concerned. According to the U.S Census Bureau under 20% of 18-29-year-olds voted and roughly 30% of that population is not registered to vote. It is every U.S citizen’s right to vote, don’t let that get taken away by a confusing process. Get out there, vote and represent your generation with pride.

 

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