As a stubborn 18-26 year old, I’ve always said that I have the right to vote, but I also have the right to not vote. This year at 27, I made a decision to let my voice be heard. After voting in the Colorado Primaries, my only regret is that I hadn’t tried to vote sooner.
Truth be told, I am a procrastinator in nature and haven’t willingly dabbled in politics enough to feel educated on voting. I’ve realized now, almost a decade into adulthood, that politics aren’t actually that scary. They’re just a mix of issues that you probably have an opinion about already.
What kept me further away from voting was knowing that I would have to do extensive research on candidates that I know nothing about, possibly having to talk to people or wait in line, and feeling pressure of a due date…
But… 2020 is a year of action! The world needs change, and we have that choice because we have the right to use our voice. That’s why I’m here to tell you the wonderful news that the process of voting is actually pretty low key.
I’ll take you through the simple 4-5 steps that I took in voting for the first time, from DMV visits to alllllllllll of the google searches.
PROBABLY ALREADY DONE
- Make sure you have a driver’s license or government ID that matches the state you live in
- If you have a state-issued driver’s license, move on to STEP 2.
- If you do not have an ID that matches the state you live in right now, it’s easy to tackle that problem first!
- For me, having a Colorado ID wasn’t the case. I moved every year and never switched from my NY driver’s license.
- I’m personally not a fan of waiting in lines, so I called the DMV (January, 2020) and asked for the next available appointment (February, 2020) to switch my license. I put it in my calendar, cut the entire DMV line waiting that day, handed them the documents needed for my state (which they told me on the phone AND online, all of which were already in my nightstand), and left with a temporary ID in 5 minutes. My Colorado license came soon after!
- Register to vote online (basically just clicking a link and submitting your address)
- A few co-workers and friends of mine were gracious enough to post links to register to vote (in any state) on Instagram. Instagram also sent a notification with a link, something you can probably rely on for the next election.
- You can also google “register to vote in __(state you live in)__”.
- Or follow this link I’ve included: https://vote.dosomething.org!
TOOLS FOR VOTING
- Receive ballot in the mail or look up in person voting
- Some states, like Colorado, always offer the option of voting by mail. Other states that are used to voting by mail are Hawaii, Utah, Oregon, and Washington.
- Some states require an excuse to vote by mail. This year, many states are giving all voters an excuse to vote by mail for certain elections (pandemic perks). Your state may automatically send you an absentee ballot or a form to fill out to request one.
- Search in-person voting options on google, or follow google to this government website I found (https://www.usa.gov/election-day) that allows you to search poll locations.
- Receive Ballot(s)!
- Since I’m a new voter in Colorado, I am unaffiliated with a party and received both ballots in the mail. Due to reading directions, I knew to only fill out/send one and rip up the other. Other states may require you to be affiliated with a party.
- Read directions and fill out very basic information about yourself
- Read names listed to vote for
- Google candidates listed (it’s like cheating on a test but you’re encouraged to do it… this is what we call research).
- Fill in bubbles to vote on your favorite candidates!
- Sign & seal
SUBMIT YOUR VOTE
- Look up drop off locations
- My drive-thru drop off location was 12 minutes from my house and there were 4 more options close-by. This information is online & on the ballot/envelopes.
- Proudly submit your vote
- Proudly wear your sticker
- Encourage others to let their voice be heard (aka post on social media to let everyone know you are an adult who has an opinion)
Voting was fun and SO EASY. The coolest part? Knowing that no matter who else is voting– the wealthy, the struggling, the old, the young, the passive, the driven– YOUR VOTE MATTERS EQUALLY TO THAT OF OTHER VOTERS*! Other coolest part? I never saw or contacted another human. A millennial’s dream.
Consider letting your voice be heard and practicing your right to vote for our future, if you haven’t already. I hope that if you’re reading this blog, you’re feeling motivated toward wanting to do this, because getting started means you’re already almost finished.
*When I say, “equal” I am referring to the equality of ballots once received by the county clerk office/election location. A vote per human is one vote, equal to other humans. However, we cannot ignore the fact that voter suppression is still very real in some areas of this country, making it difficult for various (primarily black) communities to find available poll locations/provide all documents to assure voter eligibility. Please (in any community) research voting in your area as soon as you decide to practice this right so you have ample time to follow all guidelines regardless of situational/personal obstacles. Let me know if I can help you with this!