A Comprehensive Election Day Checklist
**Views expressed here reflect those of the author and not necessarily ACC as a whole.
Just in case you needed a reminder, the 2018 General Election is swiftly approaching! All elections are important, but this one will have especially significant effects, so please make an extra effort to participate. Voting can seem like a daunting task. Maybe it’s your first time voting and you just want to make sure you are prepared, or maybe you are struggling with how to reconcile your conservative values with your concern for the environment, when candidates so often run based on traditional party platforms.
One enormous benefit of the digital age is the many resources available to us on the web. Keep reading for some incredibly helpful resources aimed at simplifying the voting process. Since November 6th is just a week away, this post is dedicated to helping you prepare to vote, and to addressing any questions you may have about the process, all in an accessible and organized format.
I personally think one of the best tools for organization is the everyday checklist. I bet you didn’t know that October 30th is dedicated to that unsung hero. That’s right. Today is National Checklist Day. So what better way to celebrate this holiday than to provide you with a comprehensive Election Day Checklist?
1. Make sure you are registered to vote. If you are unsure of your registration status, click this link to check! By now, most registration deadlines have passed for the November 6th election. There are a few exceptions, however. Many states even allow online or in-person registration on election day. Click here to view the deadlines for your state. If you have missed the deadlines altogether for your state, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, why not proactively register for the next election? Get registered to vote here. Make sure you encourage all your friends to register too!
2. Find your polling place. Unsure of where to go on election day? Check out this link to simply enter your address and find your polling place. Also on this page you will find a chart detailing which states offer early voting, and when early voting begins in each state. If your state does have early voting, this is your opportunity to avoid the lines on Election Day! Finally, if your state does not have early voting, and you are unable to vote in person on Election Day, fill out an absentee ballot form here.
3. Do your research! Just participating in the political process isn’t enough. Doing so as an educated voter is what really matters. It can seem difficult to find out the truth about candidates when so many ads and promises are floating around. One thing you can do is check up on incumbents’ actual voting records, and how they compare with their promises and rhetoric. Vote Smart is a great place to start. Another website to check out is OntheIssues, which allows you to compare different candidates on many current issues. Another good one is HeadCount, which contains several great resources to help you engage with the political process. If you are looking for which candidates most closely align with your values, something fun to do is take this quiz, which selects matches according to your answers.
4. Check out ACC’s endorsements! When it comes to politicians that support both the free market and environmentalism, ACC has compiled a helpful list of official endorsements for this election’s candidates. Check out the list and read highlights on each candidate.
5. Encourage your friends to check out the resources on this checklist too! Before you head to the polls, make sure to encourage your friends to vote as well. Sure, go ahead and share a selfie with your ‘I Voted’ sticker. But make sure you talk to your friends about why voting is so much more than a trendy patriotic photo. Share the resources from this post that helped you make your decisions, and encourage those in your circle of influence to really research the issues and candidates. It doesn’t take a huge time investment, but it would make an enormous impact if every person that went to vote really knew who and what they were supporting.
6. Go vote! Once you have completed everything on this checklist, you can be sure you are prepared to vote! Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for investing the time it takes to vote in an educated manner. Voting is a tangible way to show your support for policies that benefit the environment. Future generations will thank you!
Let me wrap up on a serious note: We are so blessed in America that voting is one of our rights. I encourage you to look around the world and remember how rare and amazing it is that we get to participate in free elections and engage in the political process. Please treat it as a solemn duty, do your research, and be grateful for the privilege of living in a nation that grants us the right to express our values by voting!