[🗳] FIVE THINGS TO DO BEFORE HEADING TO THE POLLS
If you plan to vote, here are five things experts say you can do in advance to help ensure a smooth experience. (Found at NPR.org)
- •Check your registrationOne of the biggest problems voters face is that they think they're registered but they're not. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission Website will link you to your state election website. The site will also help you locate where you're supposed to vote (maybe even how to get there) and what hours the polls open and close: https://www.eac.gov/voter_resources/contact_your_state.aspx
- •Prepare to voteCheck the ballot ahead of time to see what races you'll be voting on. This should help lines move more quickly. You should be able to see a sample ballot online — if you haven't already received one in the mail — and information about what type of voting equipment you'll be using. Also, know the rules in your state. Do you need ID? If so, what kind? Does your state require that you cast your ballot in the right precinct for your vote to count? Some do and some don't.
- •Know your optionsIn most states, you can vote early, or by mail, if you don't want to vote on Election Day. If you vote by mail, make sure you follow the directions carefully. Many ballots are thrown out because voters don't sign their names, or provide all the correct information. You should also know the deadlines for sending in your ballot. Election officials advise mailing ballots at least five days before the due date — which could be before or after Election Day, depending on your state.
- •Watch them test the machinesYou can do this in most jurisdictions, believe it or not. Election officials have to test all the equipment in advance to make sure everything is ready to go, and it usually happens in the week or two before Election Day. Some places will even stream the testing online so you can watch at home. The public can also watch the votes being counted on election night and post-election audits, in many states. Check with your local election office to find out what you can observe and when.
- •Sign up to be a poll worker or poll monitorthere's actually a well-established process for citizens to become poll watchers, and it requires training and certification. Usually, poll watchers are assigned by the political parties and campaigns to help ensure that the election is fair. Generally, poll watchers can challenge voters who they think might not be eligible, or report possible irregularities to election officials. Becoming a poll worker usually requires going to a training class or two and a long work day Nov. 8