Regardless of which office is up for grabs, every election is important. In fact, your voice has a greater impact in local elections than it does when it comes to voting for the more powerful positions. Whether it’s for a community leader or the president, you should prepare to be an informed voter in the same way.

  1. Don’t wait until the day before the election to learn about the big issues. An educated voter is a powerful weapon in any society. Being well informed is an ongoing task. Pay attention to the news at every level, every day. Take advantage of opportunities to attend town meetings, tune into debates and listen to what concerns other people in your world.
  2. Don’t expect to just show up on the day of the election and be allowed to vote. Find out early what the requirements for voter registration are in your municipality. You will need to register and provide proper forms of identification. You may need to prove your identity at the polling booth as well. Get the information beforehand so you’re not disappointed when you go to vote.
  3. Keep an open mind. Many candidates campaign by denigrating their opponents. This does little to help you understand where a candidate stands on the issues that matter to you. There is plenty of information available if you take time to look for it. Dig deeper than the surface mud-slinging to take your stand and make your choice.
  4. If you’re committed to a certain candidate, you may want to help on their campaign. It takes an army to get elected so there is plenty for you to do. This is also a good time to get a good, hard look into where your candidate truly stands.
  5. If you’re going to be out of town for the election, don’t worry about missing out on a chance to make your voice heard. Absentee ballots are available but, once again, there are deadlines to be met in order to be eligible. Plan ahead to get your vote counted.
  6. Make sure you know where your polling booth is located prior to the election. You can only vote at the polling location assigned to you. Also, check into the hours of operation. If you’re waiting in line at the close of business, you will still be allowed to vote. If you show up after the doors officially close, you will be turned away.
  7. Don’t assume primary elections are insignificant. If your candidate of choice doesn’t make it through the primary election, you won’t see their name on the ballot for the general election. Every election is important.

 

It can be easy to view the whole election process as overwhelming or to think that nothing ever changes so why bother voting. Nothing could be further from the truth. As long as elected officials must be accountable on some level, citizens will always have the final say in government. The moment power is seized by any means other than the election process, the door to anarchy or dictatorship is opened.

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