Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are You Registered to Vote?

After all the appearances, rants, mud-slinging, and promises, and party conventions, the election is going to be November 6, 2012. Are you 18 or over and a citizen of the United States? Then you should vote.
How do you register to vote?
You can register to vote online using the Minnesota State website below. Be sure you have done this before October 16 in order to have your registration on file in time for the election on November 6. Allow a couple of weeks and then check back to be sure your registration is on file.
You can also register to vote on election day at your polling place. You will need proof of identification and residence, that is: you will need a driver’s license or another legal document to prove you are who you say you are. To prove you live in a given county and state, you can also use your driver’s license, or you can bring with you a recent utility bill, such as your electric, gas, or city water and sewer statement. Be sure to check the Minnesota Voter website below to be clear on what you need to prove your identity and that you live in Minnesota.
You will fill out a form giving your basic information. An election judge, who is one of the people who stay at the polling place all day during the election, will verify your information, and then you’re registered. You can now legally vote and will not need to show those documents again unless you move or change your name.

Where to vote if you are attending school away from your parents’ home: You can only vote once, in one location. You can vote in the city where you attend college. If you prefer, you can go ‘home’ and vote there.

How do you know where to vote?
Here is the State of Minnesota website regarding voting—it has answers to just about every question you might have about voting, including where your polling place is, what issues are to be voted on, and who the candidates are:
For example, two items up for a vote in Minnesota are same-sex marriage and whether Minnesota should require a state ID for every person. You can vote your preference on these two issues in addition to voting for people to hold office. This is called a General Election because there are both state and national items to vote on.

So far, we are not able to vote online. It is possible this will happen in the future, with enough security precautions.

Find out about your candidates: most of them have websites. A simple search engine will probably find them. What do they stand for? What will they do for you? What are their opinions? Know these things before you vote people into offices. When they come to your door campaigning, ask them questions.
On Election Day, November 6, when you arrive at your polling place, first you will verify that you are registered. Several election judges will be sitting at tables with big books of names with addresses, and they’ll check for your name and ask you to verify. You will sign your name on the book.
You will then be handed a ballot to fill out, in a folder. The ballot is usually a fairly large sheet of paper with all the candidates and issues listed on it and will have items on both sides-be sure to turn it over and check.

There are several types of ballots. Some kinds require you to punch a hole using their device, indicating your vote. Most often in Minnesota, you will have a ballot that has ovals for you to fill in. You will be given a black marker to fill in the oval or circle next to the name you want to vote for. Fill in the oval completely, just like a test in school. Be careful not to be sloppy in filling it, and be sure you fill it completely, or it may not be counted by the computer. If you have any questions, ask one of the election judges working there. When you have finished filling in your ovals, put the ballot back into its folder so that no one will see how you voted, and hand the folder to the judge standing at the ballot box, or else they may just let you feed your ballot into the machine.
Sometimes in an election, there are candidates for offices that you won’t recognize, such as judges or county officials. If you do not know who to vote for, or don’t wish to vote for everything on your ballot, you can leave those items blank. Whatever you do vote for will be counted.

That’s it! You just took part in the election for or against candidates, issues, and the next President of the United States.
Now what happens? The polls are usually open until 8:00 p.m. the night of the election. After that time, doors are closed and the ballot boxes are taken to a central vote counting location. Typically, this may be a city hall or county courthouse. If voting was tabulated using computers at a polling lace, the totals are sent to the vote counting location by the election judges at that polling place. 

Did you know:

  • Elections are held in November because, when the country was begun, we lived in a largely agrarian country; that is, most people farmed. In November, harvest time was well past, and people could leave to go and vote. Also, since at the time people often would have to travel a distance to get to their polling places, it was decided that Tuesday was a good day to have it because otherwise people might have to travel on Sunday, traditionally reserved for religious observances.

  • Women are not allowed to vote in the United Arab Emirates and Vatican City. In Vatican City, only Cardinals under the age of 80 are allowed to vote, and Cardinals can only be men.

  • Women only got the right to vote in the country of Bhutan in 2008. What year did women get the vote in the U.S.?

  • In Australia, voting is compulsory; that is, it is required by law. If you don't vote, you are fined.

  • In Malta, 94% of people vote. In Chile, 93% and in Austria, 92%. 

  •  In the 2008 election in the United States, 71%. of eligible voters were registered, and only 64% actually voted.

What about recounts?
  • There is an automatic manual recount (by hand) of votes cast for federal and state contests in a general election when:
·        The difference between the votes of the winning candidate and any other candidate is less than one-half of one percent of the total number of votes counted for that office.
·        Or, if the difference in vote count is ten votes or less for an office in which 400 votes or less votes were cast.

Here's one exercise everyone who is eligible, can do: Exercise your right to vote!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.