It would be hard not to know, with the incessant pleas and accusations of campaigning politicians across all forms of media these past few days, but this Tuesday, November 2nd, is Election Day! This is our opportunity for civic engagement, to hold government accountable, and feel smugly superior for the low cost of standing in line and exercising the right to vote! There is usually even some free coffee, and very nice volunteers to usher you through the process pain-free.
First of all, you must be registered to vote. Usually this has to be done at least a month before Election Day, but this varies from state to state. In Georgia, I was registered when I got my driver's license, so that was super convenient.
To figure out who all of the eligible candidates are, I started by Googling "Georgia election commission." This type of search will generally lead to your state's Secretary of State office, which is responsible for overseeing elections. If your state is up-to-speed on internet technology, you should be able to learn where your polling place is, which districts you can vote for, what all of the open seats are, and even have links to the candidates' campaign websites.
There should be a sample ballot available online, which you can print out to mark down your choices. It can be hard to remember what you researched when there are a lot of candidates and issues, so I recommend working through this ballot or taking a cheat sheet in with you.
What You'll Need
- Form of identification
- Sample ballot or cheat sheet (optional)
- Patience (occasionally the lines are long)
- A voice in the political process
- Sense of satisfaction for doing the right thing
- Complaining rights if the other guy wins
- Coffee, and maybe even donuts (if you're lucky)