How To Register To Vote
There really is nothing more beautiful than registering to vote in the democratic process. Even though we all know that there are plenty of democracies out there besides our’s in the US (think Great Britain, Australia, France, Canada), America is pretty unprecedented in that we were founded on the idea of a democratic republic. Which is why we think it’s pretty important to know how to register to vote. A lot of people might not vote because they don’t know how to register, and we’re here to say that’s not an excuse. Registering to vote is easy enough, and we’re going to show you how it’s done:
Figure out where you’re registering.
Although it sounds kind of silly, our registration location is a pretty important thing to determine. Because you have to wait until you’re 18 to vote, chances are you’re out there living and working on your own or are rocking it out at college. See why it’s a struggle to pick your registration address?
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume you go to college and are living there, too. Some colleges and college towns make it really convenient to vote -- if that’s the case, it might be best to register using your school address. For others it’s best to register with their home addresses and fill out absentee ballots. If going with an absentee ballot, you need to make sure you’re on top of dates to know all of the due dates for your vote to be counted in time.There’s no right or wrong answer here, just personal preference, so double check all of your options before registration time comes.
Figure out your state’s policy.
Some states have online registration. Some have mail-in registration. Some schools will set up a registration booth and let you do it there. A great resource for finding out what your specific state does is usa.gov. Give that site a visit and look at their registration database to get the details.
Determine party affiliation.
When you register to vote, the government is going to ask you about party affiliation. Generally speaking, people go with one of three options: Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Although you’re probably thinking that it shouldn’t matter what you label yourself, this is actually pretty important for primary season. If you’re a registered Democrat, you can only vote for Democratic candidates in the primary; ditto for Republicans. Independents can’t vote for either, and need to sit tight until the general election.
Of course, it’s easy enough to revise your registration down the line if you feel your affiliation has changed. A lot of people start off as independents (this keeps them from being bombarded with a ton of info from either the RNC or DNC and lets you figure things out for themselves) and as they learn more about their political beliefs, they feel more comfortable joining a party.
The most important part of being a voter is being an informed voter. It is not enough to just sign up and head to the ballot box every November -- it’s important to be an informed citizen. Stay up-to-date on the news so you know what’s going on and so you can form your own opinions and then determine which candidates and policies you support.