Growing up, I always asked Mom lots of questions. Questions like “What does ‘superfluous’ mean?” and “What’s an endocrinologist?” were common, and quite commonly, Mom replied:
“Look it up in the dictionary.”
Nowadays, I still have questions. They’re a little more difficult for Mom to answer, so her reply is more like:
“Look it up on the Internet.”
It’s very easy to give up on answering a question when the answer is not easily found. From questions in an exam, to solving a problem with university administration, to learning how to vote, I’ve found myself at bottomless pits of questions that don’t have answers on SparkNotes.com or FAQ pages.
I was in this predicament when I attempted to vote through an absentee ballot. I didn’t know how to get a hold of a ballot or where to vote or what to send. I was clueless! I expected that all of the information would be readily available on one government website, which would make it easier for college students.
I was wrong.
In 2008, about 30% of the presidential vote was made up of early voters (vote by mail and absentee voters). However, only 47% of the country’s 18-24 year olds voted. I had to wonder—is the process of absentee voting a turn off to students who have other things to worry about? And are young voters ever formally educated on how to vote?
So—how can I vote and how can you do the same?
If you haven’t registered to vote yet (you often can do this when you get your license at the DMV), you can register here.
If you’re unsure if you are registered, you can click here for more information. If you’re voting within your county, remember that polls are open from 7AM to 7PM, and you’ll be standing in line for a while. Click here to view your voting precinct or here to contact your local election official for locations. Remember to bring an accepted form of ID and don’t forget to pick up your ‘I Voted’ sticker!
If you’re registered to vote in your home state, and are living or studying in a different state, click here. This was the route I had to take, and for most (if not all) states, an online absentee ballot registration is unavailable. Snail mail is a bummer, but it’s often the only way to ensure that my vote is counted.
If you’re studying abroad, backpacking across Eastern Europe, or in the armed forces click here for voting assistance.
Remember, if you’re planning on voting in this upcoming presidential election with an absentee ballot, you may want to check the absentee ballot form deadlines—many of the forms are due soon! And the last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012.
By the way, you can now advocate and allow others to register to vote with the click of a button. Click here to add the widget to your site.
See you at the polls.
Maegan Vazquez, a Texas born sophomore at New York University, brings her young woman’s lens on all things political to Heartfeldt Blog every Monday. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org