This fall will bring some important changes to the US. We are going to be voting for a President and Vice President, members of the House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, and many state and local office holders as well. As this time approaches it is important that you are prepared and informed.
There are a few simple ways to ensure you are able to confidently participate in the electoral process. The first of which is registering to vote. By answering these simple questions you can ensure that you’re prepared for Election Day.
Have you registered?
If you think you are registered but are you not sure, check voter status.
Oh no, you are not registered!
No worries just fill out a Voter Registration.
But what if I am registered and…
I need to just update my name, address, Party Affiliation, update my signature, or apply for new card? Follow the step provided in the link and it will let you know what you need.
Do you know your party?
This is a list of the state of Florida’s Political Parties websites. With this information you can find where you can engage with your party and locate local events.
Look at how many times throughout history one solitary vote made the difference or how many elections in the country have been decided by very few votes: John F. Kennedy was voted President by one vote per precinct; a woman’s right to vote here in the US was won by a last minute single vote in the Tennessee legislature; George Bush’s presidential election was won by just 537 votes in the state of Florida. Your vote can make or break who gets in to office.
Now on to the 2nd most critical part of voting; getting balanced information.
Who are you voting for?
This is a user friendly pdf guide to each of elected officials currently in and running for office. When you scroll down to pages 7- 11 you will find the information for each of the national, state districts, judicial, and county representatives including their offices and phone numbers for any additional information you may want to ask.
An additional great tool is this “who is running for office” breakdown for Florida. Here you will find contact information along with short bios of those who qualified to run in this next election.
What are you voting on?
Aside from voting on elected officials we are going to be voting on different amendments. I found this great comprehensive website for understanding constitutional amendments for the 2012 elections. Here you can orient yourself with the proposed constitutional revisions in the November election.
The Florida Constitutional Amendment Guide (pdf) also gives great ballot summaries, explanations, and background on the amendments that are to be voted on.
Want to vote but don’t have all day?
Find your local early voting site and beat the lines.
It is important to know your states registration deadline. These dates can run anywhere between 21 to 30 days before the election. Florida’s deadline is October 9th, so make sure you are registered before then.
Once you are registered it is important that you bring your voters registration card and identification card with you to go vote. Without these items you will not be able to cast your ballot. You should consider bringing a sample ballot to simplify the voting process. This will speed up the process and ensure you make the right choice.
It is also good to know your rights and what to expect. The Florida Voters Registration and voting guide gives a great user friendly breakdown.
Do your part.
You can say The Pledge of Allegiance, you might have a Fourth of July Bar-b-que with fireworks and all, but the first and most important way we should all show our devotion to our country is by making sure that we go out and vote every election. But it is not just your right to vote, it is also your responsibility to vote and to make an informed decision.
Take control of your future. Get registered, get informed but you have to make it to the polls because our future relies on mobilization!
Daisha Paz is a long-time resident of the Orlando, Florida area, but hails from Luquillo Beach; Puerto Rico. Daisha (pronounced “Dah - ē - shah”) is pursuing her A.S. in Psychology at Valencia College and plans to attend University of Central Florida (UCF) to pursue a B.S. in Psychology. Daisha is on a mission to change the world is most interested in issues of mental health, gender equality, family values and immigration. Through her work as an MCE blogger at Mobilize.org, Daisha hopes to make a positive impact on Millennial Civic Engagement.