6 Things to Know Before You Go – VOTE!

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Back in the late 18th century, founding father Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”  Mr. Franklin probably never imagined that a media platform called BlackHer would use his words to encourage Black women to get organized to vote in the 21st century, but that’s what’s happening right here!

Here are 6 (easy!) things that you can do right now to prepare yourself for Election Day on November 6th, Election Day 2018.  

1. Register, register, register. Please, please, please.

We can’t help mentioning this one last time!  If you are not registered to vote, you can’t vote, so…you need to register now!

  • If you are not sure if you are registered or if you are concerned that you might have been removed from the election rolls, check here!
  • If you haven’t registered yet, change that now.  Register to vote online through Vote.org.

Need to get more specific?

Find the deadlines for registration in your state here along with handy-dandy online voter registration forms for your state. You can find the registration form by clicking on the name of your state.

Please note: Most states require new voters to register several weeks before the election in order for them to be allowed to vote on election day.  Go register, now!

2. Vote Early! 

What is early voting?

Early voting is just what it sounds like – voting early!  It takes place in person on certain scheduled days before November 6, 2018, which is Election Day.

Pro tip: You can vote early even if you are capable of getting to the polls on Election Day.

Early voting is THE BEST because you can avoid the long lines and other hassles that might exist on November 6, 2018.

Find out if your state has early voting by looking here. And, go put that ballot in the box!

3. Check to See if You Need an ID.

This is a biggie. Some folks are being stopped from voting because of restrictive voter ID laws and/or uninformed poll workers. So, you need to know your rights!

Check here to determine what (if any) verification is needed to cast your vote in your state.

Be prepared and know what you need to bring before you get to your polling place!

4. Confirm the Location of Your Polling Place.

Ladies, do not assume that your polling place is the same as it was in the last election.  One of the new tricks to block registered voters (like us!) from voting is to close polling places without notice to those affected.

Check the location of your polling place before you head out to vote by contacting your local board of election examiners or by going here on Vote.org.

To use this site, scroll down the page and use the section which directs you to your state.  It requires you to type in your personal information to confirm that you are a registered voter before you can locate your polling place.

5. Can’t Vote in Person? Cast an Absentee Ballot. 

What is an absentee ballot?

If you can’t get to the polls, you may be able to vote via absentee ballot. Absentee voting aka “mail-in voting” is conducted before Election Day.  All states mail ballots to voters if certain conditions are met.  The voter may then return the ballot in person or by mail.

Please note: Rules for early voting vary by state.  For example, twenty-one states require voters to provide an excuse for voting by absentee ballot.  While twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia offer no-excuse absentee voting. Some states even let voters apply for an absentee ballot in person before Election Day and then vote the ballot that same day.

The point is, you need to know the rules for your state!

Go to Vote.org to find the rules and deadlines for requesting an absentee ballot in your state.

6. Can’t Cast That Ballot?  Call a Lawyer!

From the precinct bosses to the election judges, there are lots of actors who have a role to play to protect the integrity of our election process. Things usually go well.  You vote and you get an “I VOTED” sticker!  But, occasionally problems arise. In those instances, some of the most helpful actors can be the lawyers who are on guard, either in person or by telephone, to provide election protection.

For the 2018 midterms, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will be on location in some states looking out for the electorate.  In other instances, they will only be a phone call away.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law leads Election Protection, “the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition of more than 100 partners.” Through its suite of hotlines (see below), they’ve got us covered!  Their dedicated team of trained legal and grassroots volunteers helps all American voters, including traditionally disenfranchised groups. For more information about Election Protection and the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline, please visit www.866ourvote.org.

  • 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) administered by the Lawyers’ Committee;
  • 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) administered by NALEO Educational Fund;
  • 888-API-VOTE (888-273-8683) administered by API Vote and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC; and
  • 844-YALLA-US (844- 925-5287) administered by the Arab American Institute

Please note: Election Protection works year-round to help all American voters through field monitors, voter education and an expansive network of national partners and state advocates to respond to voters’ questions and concerns. The 866-OUR-VOTE hotline will be live starting on National Voter Registration Day (September 25, 2018) until the November midterm election.

We called the number.  It worked. You can call the hotline and leave a message.

Take the hotline number with you on election day.  If there are no onsite lawyers and you need help with a voting issue, call the hotline.

That’s it!  You’re ready for the 2018 Midterms.

Happy Voting!