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A Beginners Guide to Voter Registration

The clock is ticking. Election day 2020 is less than 100 days away. This year we’ll be picking 435 house seats, 35 senate seats, 11 Governors… oh and of course a president.  But don’t freak out! It’s not time to panic, it’s time to get organized. 


For first time voters, navigating registration can be daunting. Add concerns about in-person voting due to a global pandemic and it can be tempting to push registration to the bottom of your to-do list. 


I know registering to vote can seem overwhelming but I promise it’s way less complicated than it seems. And its never been more important. If you’re a Gen Z or a Millennial, this year marks the first time we have more eligible voters than Baby Boomers. That means if we actually show up, we have the numbers to shape not just the outcome of the election, but the national agenda for the next four years. Add to that two potential Supreme Court Justices and we’re looking at setting the agenda for the next decade. 


So, you’re ready to cast your ballot, how do you do it?


Here’s a quick and easy guide to registering to vote:


Let me introduce you to your new best friend: Vote.org. Vote.org is a non-partisan initiative dedicated to getting as many eligible voters registered as possible. It’s a one-stop-shop for new registration, applying for an absentee ballot, finding a polling place, and basically anything else you might need to send in your vote. 


If you need to register: Vote.org will set you up with all the information you need for your state. Just tell them your name, birthday, and home address and they’ll walk you through the steps. Want to register? Click here.


If you need to change your registration: Maybe you’re going to college out of state. Maybe you got a new job and had to relocate. Whatever the reason, changing your registration is quick and easy. Vote.org can help you update your registration here.


If you aren’t sure if you’re registered: If you live in a state that’s big on purging voters from their registry (I’m looking at you Georgia), you may no longer be eligible to vote and not even know it. Luckily, it’s fast and simple to look up your status. Need to check your registration status? Click here. 


If you want to vote by mail: First of all, great choice! Voting by mail is super fast, super easy, and they still mail you a little “I voted today” sticker (and who doesn’t love a free sticker?). Plus, in the middle of a pandemic, voting from home is a great way to keep yourself and poll workers safe. Now time for the bad news. Some Governors have been pulling shenanigans are refusing to let voters request an absentee ballot due to Coronavirus fears. If you’re not sure what your state’s vote by mail policy is, you can check here. If you’re all set to send in your absentee ballot, Vote.org will help you set it up here. The sooner you send in your request the better as many states are expecting to get overwhelmed with absentee ballot requests as the election approaches. 


So there you have it, you’re all set to vote in 2020! I know voting can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility. You don’t have to look far to find the narrative that your vote doesn’t matter. I’ll be the first to admit that our system is imperfect. But if we don’t show up and vote, we’re letting the people who worked so hard to silence us win. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to give them that satisfaction. 


Whether you show up or mail in, voting in 2020 is one of the best ways to make meaningful and lasting change. So register to vote, research your candidates, and make sure that the 2020 governing body will fight for you.

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