According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016, approximately 1 in 7 American citizens who were of voting age self-reported that they were not registered to vote.Not being registered to vote is one of the many impediments that prevent eligible participates from voting. Individuals may even feel discouraged to vote due to reasons ranging from feeling uninformed on current elections to not have having time to wait in line to vote. Addressing these issues can make an individual’s voting experience far more accessible. Read below for easy fixes for the most common voting issues!
Forgetting to register or not knowing how to register is a very common reason why individuals don’t participate in elections. Not knowing how, where or even when to register impede individual’s ability to register and vote. There are also individuals who are not aware that they must register to vote before they arrive to the polls. However, registering to vote has never been easier, you can register at the Driver’s license office, any armed forces recruitment center, canvassers can register you at your door, you can find mail-in registration papers at your local public library, school, any other government office, you can even register online on the Georgia secretary of state website and galeo.org has a link where you can register as well.
To register to vote you must be a U.S. citizen, be a legal resident of Georgia and the county you’re voting in, must be 17 and half to register but 18 years old by the time you vote, you cannot be serving a sentence for having been convicted of a felony, and you must not be judicially determined as mentally incompetent, unless it has been removed. If you need to register in other language the National Mail Voter Registration From is available 15 languages https://www.eac.gov/voters/national-mail-voter-registration-form/. Vote.org is a great website with tools that allow you to easily register to vote online help you check your voter registration.
Time is valuable and so is your vote! Election days are notorious for their long poll lines that never seem to move. Early voting helps you get ahead of the hectic election day. You can receive reminders on the election and when early voting is happing at https://www.vote.org/election-reminders/. Getting these reminders can help you plan ahead and keep up with election day. Even having to ask off or rush to make it to early voting can be a hassle. If you find that you abstain from voting because you don’t have time absentee ballots are a great option. Absentee ballots can be completed at home and mailed in. You can get your absentee ballot at https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot/ .
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
Keeping up with any kind of election can be overwhelming and the pressure can discourage individual to participate. Some may deem their lack of knowledge as a reason not to vote at all.
Knowledge is power and having enough information can make a huge difference. There are a couple of ways you can make keeping up with elections far less overwhelming:
- You can receive election reminders at GALEO’s election reminder number 1-888-54GALEO (1-888-544-2536).
- Signing up at https://www.vote.org/election-reminders/ will send you occasional emails and text messages with election reminders as well.
- You can find your voting polling location at https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/. There 27 states that will not count your vote if you at the wrong voting poll.
- Another great site that notifies you about upcoming elections is https://www.ballotready.org. They also provide you with information regarding the positions being voted on, the candidates running, and their positions on issues.
- If you wanting to know more about candidates https://votesmart.org is a great site that allows you to see candidate’s biography, their positions on issues, their votes on bills, their speeches and where their funding comes from.
Feeling intimidate when going out to vote whether it’s due to being physically or emotionally intimidated by others or even being in cramped areas can hold back individuals. Voting should be accessible to everyone and intimidation at the poll can prevent individuals from voting. There are ways one can overcome the intimidation and vote. Georgia allows anyone eligible to vote to receive an absentee ballot which allows you to vote in the comfort of your home. Going out to vote with a friend or a group could also help ease any anxieties. The point is to do anything to make your voting experience accessible and your voice heard.
If at any time you are intimated, harassment, being given false info about voting requirement, someone who is impersonating poll worker or election official , or is preventing you from voting when you are eligible you can call the Election Protection Hotline at tel:1-866-687-8683.
Hopefully, these tips will help you make your voting experience more accessible in the upcoming elections. You have the ability to make your voice hear through your vote and empower other to do the same. Don’t allow for anything to get in the way of your voice being heard. Make sure to share these tips with anyone who might need it. ¡Tu voz es tu voto!
- U.S. Census Bureau, “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2016,” available at https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/voting-and-registration/p20-580.html