It may be hard to believe, but we’re only about a month and a half away from the election. And not just any election, a very big election… in the middle of a pandemic! Most years, we are solely concerned with who is going to get our vote, but this year, there’s a little bit more to keep in mind/consider. So that leads to my question: do you have a voting plan?
My friends and I have been talking about this a lot recently, and one of them (who works in politics at the moment) explained how asking people if they have a voting plan is one of the best ways to start conversations in a non-divisive way that can lead directly to a greater voter turnout. So often political conversations lack nuance and skip straight to defense and attack modes – but encouraging people to exercise their right to vote is, and should always be, bipartisan. Of course I have my own political views (especially this year…) but more than anything, I want to empower all of you to vote and get educated on the candidates (both Presidential and local!) so that you can make your voice heard.
*Also, this shirt is from a collaboration between two of my favorite Chicago gals – Alice & Wonder and Jess Keys! 10% of the proceeds will be donated to Vote Save America’s Every Last Vote fund. You can pre-order here!
Do You Have a Voting Plan?
Register to vote/make sure you’re registered to vote.
If you aren’t registered to vote, don’t worry! Just go to iwillvote.com, enter the state you live in, and click “Register To Vote.” As long as you do this before your state’s voter registration deadline, this is easy peasy. Also, even if you’re pretty sure you are registered, DOUBLE CHECK NOW! On that same homepage on iwillvote.com, click “Check If I’m Registered To Vote.” It only takes 2 seconds and it’s absolutely worth it to avoid any last minute issues!
Review your voting options.
We all have different circumstances, whether it’s our health, work schedules, and/or ability to get child care – and you have the ability to choose the best voting method for you! Here are your options.
Option 1: Vote in person on election day.
Do you like voting ON Election Day? If you registered to vote, you should be receiving information about the polling place you should go to on Election Day. If you haven’t received that information, vote.org links to polling place locators for every state.
Option 2: Vote early in person.
If you aren’t available on Election Day, or you just don’t want to wait, you can vote early! This is always what I do because the lines are always way shorter and it’s usually an easy/stress free experience. That being said, sometimes the early voting locations are different from the Election Day polling locations, so make sure you know exactly when and where to go! If you click “Vote By Mail” on iwillvote.com, you can sign up to get more information about how to vote in person – including early voting details!
Option 3: Mail in your ballot.
This year, the majority of US citizens have the ability to vote with a mail-in ballot. If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable voting in person in your state, this is a great option! You can view the rules for each state on vote.org, and also click through to request your own absentee ballot. So easy!
Option 4: Get a mail-in ballot and drop at dropbox.
I don’t believe all of the dropbox details have been finalized in every state, but most states will have dropbox locations where you can physically bring your mail-in ballot instead of sending it in the mail.
Educate Yourself and Plan Your Ballot
The best thing we can all do right now is educate ourselves about everything that will be on your ballot. While there are a TON of resources to help learn about the candidates, BallotReady.org is my absolute favorite. Based on your address, your exact ballot will populate. Then, when you click “Research ballot”, you will see a breakdown of each candidate. This includes their experience, education, information and quotes about where they stand on the issues, and endorsements. When you figure out who you want to vote for in each category, click “Add To My Ballot“. Once that’s done, you can print and/or email yourself all of your choices so you know exactly what to fill out at the polls.
In addition, Vote Save America just launched a similar tool! Just click “What’s On My Ballot” and enter your address. That will take you to a page with everything that will be on your ballot, along with background on each candidate. Just like Ballot Ready, it also has the option to add your choices to your ballot, which you can then print or email to yourself. SO helpful!
PS. It was really important to me to keep this post bipartisan, especially because I know how divisive politics have become. That being said, in case you haven’t been able to guess by now, I will be voting for Biden/Harris this year. For our climate, for racial justice, for women, for the LGBTQ+ community, for common sense gun laws, and for so many other reasons ??