|Future voters hanging out at the polls in 2010.
An article in this morning’s paper motivated me to check the status of my voter registration.
Back when I was in the active-duty military, I had to register before every election because I voted via absentee ballot and my address changed a lot.
I had to renew my registration all the time with the state of Kentucky (my home-of-record at the time), and this required submitting documentation via snail-mail months in advance. Then, if things worked correctly, I received my paper ballot, filled it out, and returned it via snail-mail again. This was never an easy process, even though the military tried to make it a simple one.
But government, paperwork, deadlines, and snail-mail? And remember, this was before websites and digital media were all the rage.
Needless to say, it was an exasperating process, especially when stories of military votes being overlooked made the headlines every election season.
But it was important to me that I did it.
|The headline that motivated me to double-check.
Now, even though we’ve been settled in one location for years, I still get paranoid that I’m encroaching on a registration deadline or that something needs to be done in order for me to vote this November. Seeing the headline in today’s newspaper about voters and voting rules motivated me to double-check my own voting eligibility.
And guess what?
Double-checking my voter status was super easy.
I googled my county and “voter registration” and I found the site I needed within seconds. After that, it took less than a minute to determine that I’m still a registered voter. I could also see my voter history.
There was a chart, too, showing me the elections from now until 2021. This year, of course, are federal elections for President, Senate, and House of Representatives. Next year, I’ll be voting for the state’s Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and House of Delegates. In 2014, there will be a lot of local government positions listed on the ballot.
For some strange reason, it made me really giddy to see that schedule.
Maybe it’s because my parents took me along to the polls when I was a kid.
Maybe it’s because I had to go through such a difficult process to simply cast my vote per election while in the military.
Maybe it’s because I live in the Washington DC area, where you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone, or something, political.
Maybe it’s because I just love being all up in this country’s business.
Maybe it’s because I felt bad — like, embarrassed-because-I’m-an-idiot bad — when I met with the local women in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, and they knew way more about their village elders and the programs and issues coming out of Kabul than I did about my own town’s leadership in the United States. And yet, these women couldn’t vote for those elders, issues, and programs, at least, not in the way I could vote for my own leadership as a female in the United States.
For whatever reason, I’m passionate about voting.
As the only member of my family who can vote, I take it seriously and I enjoy the whole process of it. I imagine it’s like being a sports recruiter, and studying the prospects, trying to predict the future and what the new player can bring to the team.
I most enjoy learning about the candidates and reading their bios, especially the candidates that aren’t the superstars in the spotlight, but who have the most direct impact on my lifestyle.
I love reading news and commentary articles, talking about the issues with others, debating over ideas. Deciding which issues are most relevant to me. Studying the facts, opening my mind, and trusting my gut.
I love all of it.
Those who argue that voting is a waste of time, that my vote doesn’t count, that politics are too messy/confusing/annoying/uninteresting … you might as well be speaking Greek to me. I just don’t understand any of those reasons for not voting.
I do understand, though, that exercising a right is a choice. That we have the choice at all? I’m grateful.
More often, though, I hear that people would like to vote, but they just don’t know how or they get overwhelmed by the process.
That’s understandable. Every state, every county, is different when it comes to voting requirements and processes, and not all of them offers a streamlined voting website like mine.
If you’re interested in learning more about your voting rights, how to register, an election calendar, and more, you can visit the following non-partisan websites that offer information.
Learn. Register. Vote.
Even if your vote cancels out mine. 🙂
Voting and Elections – This is the official government website dedicated to voting and election information. Not as sexy as the Rock the Vote site, but the same information, as well as contact information for voting officials.
Rock the Vote – This is geared toward the younger generations, educating them about their voting rights, election processes, and more. I may or may not belong to this age bracket, but let’s just say I do. *ahem*
Federal Voting Assistance Program – Dedicated to helping military members and their families navigate the process of casting a ballot while stationed overseas or away from their home-of-record.