5 tips for a successful election day
The 2012 United States presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. According to the US Election Assistance Commission, more than 600,000 provisional ballots (about 29%) were thrown out in the 2008 presidential election due mostly to avoidable voter errors. Being knowledgeable on Election Day will guarantee a smooth, successful voting experience. To avoid the common Election Day disasters, make sure you can answer these five questions.
1. Are you properly registered?
One of the most confusing and easily missed steps to the voting process is the registration process. The most common mistakes when registering are incomplete address, missed signature or a missed deadline. Most states require voters to register prior to Election Day, but some do allow Election Day registration. To ensure your information is correct, make sure to click here.
2. Do you know where and when to vote?
Many states will not count your vote at the wrong location. Especially considering the recent effects of Hurricane Sandy, many polling locations have changed since the 2008 elections. If you are not completely sure, make sure to contact your local election official or click here to find your polling location and times.
3. Do you know what to bring to the polls?
Have you ever had to go back and forth from the DMV because you forgot a proper form of identification? Being prepared on Election Day will mean the difference between an easy, positive voting experience from a time-consuming, painful one. To be safe, make sure to have a photo ID and an ID that shows your current address (e.g., Driver's License). Also, make sure to pay close attention to your ballot. Many ballots will be thrown out due to human error, so a good tip is to fill out a practice ballot to bring the polls. For specific, local guidelines on to bring for Election Day, click here.
4. Do you know the candidates/issues on your ballot?
The most important information you can bring with you on Election Day is knowledge of the issues. Marking your name on the ballot is your most powerful contribution to US democracy at the presidential and local level. For a comprehensive, non-partisan look at both local and presidential candidates, click here to Project Vote Smart and enter your zip code in the left-hand column of the webpage to get more information.
5. Do you know your voting rights?
As a United States Citizen, you have a right to vote, and union members need to be aware of voter discrimination. Whether voting as a poll worker, overseas or with special needs, you need to know how to protect your freedoms when challenged. Click here for a state-by-state guide on your voting rights. If you have any further questions, another great resource is 866OurVote.org or call 1-866-Our-Vote.
Have any other tips? Share your comments below!