Everything You Need To Know To Vote, Dummy
Guys, the 2012 presidential election is nigh! And with less than two months to go before the next president is elected, y’all need to get your voting ducks in a row. If you’re not registered, or not sure where you’re registered, or are concerned about weird, restrictive new voter ID laws in your states, we’ll give you the resources to make it to the booth on time.
IF YOU’RE NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE
Okay, you need to fix this right away. This lovely little guide from Long Distance Voter provides all of the necessary deadlines for each state, and a link to how to register. Many states require that you register weeks in advance of the election, so do it, like, yesterday.
If you’re not sure if you’re registered to vote, use Can I Vote? to check whether you’re on the rolls.
BUT I MOVED!
Okay, so you moved. Now you have to change your registration. You need to do this at least three weeks before the election. I know we are all lazy babies that hate having to actually, you know, do anything, but this is important! You can get a form at your local post office, county election office or library. The form has to be mailed in — no beep beep bop bop over the Internet — so buy a stamp. Because isn’t it the worst when you need to mail something and you don’t have any stamps and it just sits on your desk taunting you forever?
BUT JULIE, I’M AN AMERICAN LIVING OVERSEAS!
I was once, too. It was during the 2004 election where we reelected George W. Bush (whoops!) and I was living in England going to grad school. A lot of Brits were furious with us on Election Day, but I could say, “Hey, don’t blame me, I voted for the other guy,” because I used an absentee ballot to vote. To do this, you need to get an absentee ballot. You can find general information about this here. Requirements vary from state to state. Do this, like, yesterday.
There have been quite a few measures passed in recent months in order to, oh, delightfully curb voter access to the polls. Know your rights — and know what you need to bring the day of the election to make sure you don’t get turned away. Here is an awesome and useful Brennan Center for Justice report on Voting Law Changes. Why is this important? Because these measures specifically target poor people and people of color. Voter suppression is a real thing, propagated by some conservative lawmakers in order to influence the vote, so please check out what forms of identification are required to vote in your state, and what polling hours are (tactics include limiting voting hours in some areas).
OH NOES! I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE CANDIDATES!
Thanks to Project Vote Smart, now you do.