So You Think You’re Ready to Vote?

Originally published in the League of Women Voters Blog.

by Megan Brown

Hey voters! With five short weeks before Election Day, now is the time to get the information you need so that you can participate in the 2018 midterms and the League is here to help! 

Is my registration current? 

In most states, voter registrations start to close in the coming weeks, so for many of you, this is the last chance to register to vote or update your voter registration. Not sure if you’re registered to vote? You can check on that status or start your registration by visiting VOTE411.org. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes. 

Did you check your status?  Great! That was easy, right? So, what’s next? Now it’s time to get informed.  

How can I learn about candidates I’ll vote for? 

The League was founded in 1920 to help the newly franchised female voters participate in the election process. Part of our mission is educating voters so that you know who the candidates are, what they stand for, so you can make the best selection that’s right for you. Ninety-eight years later, we are still at it helping all voters find the information they need. 

Need help learning more about the candidates on your ballot? Leagues across the country contacted tens of thousands of candidates and asked them questions about the important issues in your area. These candidate statements are found in our VOTE411.org voters’ guides. In addition to candidates running for office, most voters will also have ballot initiatives and questions to choose from this November. These issues can be confusing and don’t always get the news attention they deserve. But don’t worry. The League is here to help break them down.  

On VOTE411.org voters can see a full sample ballot in advance of what they will find at the polling place - in fact, 1.5 million voters have already used VOTE411 so far this year! Leagues are working hard finalizing their voters’ guides in advance of Election Day, so be sure to check VOTE411.org before heading to the polls to know where candidates stand on the important issues.

Still looking for more? We host candidate debates and forums across the country. And I’m not just talking about House, Senate, and Governor races. Those are important, but the League also hosts candidate forums for local elections; City Council, Mayor, School Board, State Legislature and we even host forums to explain the ballot initiatives that appear on your ballot. In-person debates are a huge part of our democracy. This is the chance for voters to hear directly from the politicians who want to represent them. Think of them as job interviews and you are the hiring manager. Don’t you want to know what these candidates can do for you? Consider attending a candidate forum in your community. We are hosting hundreds of events between now and election day, visit VOTE411.org to find the events in your area. It’s a great way to engage with your community. Make it a date night or bring a few friends so that you all have a chance to learn more. 

When and how can I vote? 

When can you vote and where? Is early voting something you’re interested in? Many states offer voters the chance to cast their ballot weeks before the general election (which is November 6th by the way – mark your calendars)! VOTE411.org has these answers all in one place. You can confirm your polling place, what hours of operating and start to make your election plan. If you need to vote absentee, you can also find those resources on VOTE411. 

What should I bring to the polls?

 VOTE411.org can tell you what voting laws apply, and if voter ID is necessary where you vote.  In many places, we are getting the word out through phone banking to help voters understand what information they might need at the polls. Leagues are showing up at community events, fairs, and libraries to hand out printed materials and reminders so that voters know what rules apply in their areas. 

WITH THAT, YOU ARE READY TO VOTE!

Thanks for using all of the VOTE411.org resources the League provides to help voters. Don’t forget to mark the calendar for November 6th and spread the word to your friends and family: now is the time to learn about the candidates and issues and get ready to vote!