We’ve heard a lot about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the news lately. And for good reason, there's an election coming up (real) soon. Reading the strong opinions thrown around the Internet, you’d think that most people would be all set to head to the polls. However, this is not the case. Many who participate in democracy online, are not doing it in real life. A staggering amount of US citizens in the 18-29 demographic are still not registered to vote. Up until a month ago I was one of them.
That’s right. Even though I’ve kept up with the daily insults thrown at women this year in the "war on women", I was still not registered. Yet, I realized that by not voting in past elections, I was complicit in all of the awful things that were – and are- happening in my country. And I was definitely not alone. In 2008, only 64% of peoples were registered to vote, and that number sharply declined when it came to the youth. In 2008, the average for 18-29-year-olds rested around 45%, which means that only approximately 22.5% of US women ages 18-30 were registered to vote.
Perhaps this is because registering to vote is paperwork heavy, something that the denizens of our Internet age don’t deal with regularly. Also, depending on if you’re in school or depending on your location, there might not be information readily available on how to register or cast an absentee ballot. For example, I attend NYU and have yet to hear the words ‘voter registration’ uttered on campus. But fear not! I’ve compiled some helpful resources that will outline how to register in your state, and how to cast an absentee ballot. So if you haven’t registered, go register! And if you’ve already registered, congratulations!
Voter Registration: http://www.rockthevote.com/
Rock the Vote has great information on young voter statistics (which is where we got the stats mentioned above!), as well as a really helpful voter registration template. To register, go to the ‘Register to Vote’ tab, fill out the form, print it, and then mail it to your local town hall. Depending on what state you live in, you can register up to 14 days before Election Day, giving you plenty of time to do so.
Absentee Ballots: http://www.sots.ct.gov/sots/cwp/view.asp?a=3179&q=489910
I found the absentee ballot form for Connecticut as an example. In Connecticut, you must fill out the form and return/mail it to your town clerk at least 31 days before Election Day. This varies state to state, so in order to find the instructions for casting an absentee ballot for your state, Google "absentee ballot, (your state here)", and follow the instructions on your state website. Happy voting!
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