In so many ways, 2020 has already been a big year, and most of it was definitely unexpected. But come November, it's about to get even more important for Americans. The general election is on November 3. It's an opportunity for us to participate in democracy, do our civic duty, and have our voices be heard in regard to crucial issues and the direction of our country. For sure, the biggest decision in the election is who will become president for the next four years, but there are also critical races in Congress and state and local ballot measures on the line.
Participation is key here, so we've all got to vote. It's the best thing you can do for your community, family, and friends and for the future. First things first, you should confirm that you're registered to vote. You can check your status here.
If you're not registered to vote, it's a process that won't take you more than a couple of minutes. Go here to register. And if you're all set, that doesn't necessarily mean you're off the hook. There are still a lot of ways you can get involved now and throughout the election season. To start, we have some action items to consider for your to-do list:
1. Double-Check Your Registration Status
Maybe you registered a long time ago or moved since the last election or just want to be sure. It doesn't hurt to double-check your status and confirm that your information is correct. Check your status here.
2. Text or Call Family and Friends
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Reach out to your nearest and dearest (and maybe even some acquaintances) to remind them to register. You can even issue a fun challenge and ask them to text a reminder to five to 10 other people.
3. Spread the Word on Social Media
You're going to be scrolling today, so why not put some of that time toward a good cause? Whether you're posting in feed, sharing Stories, or making a TikTok, flex your social media networking skills and get your followers involved in democracy.
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If you're eligible, you can sign up to be a poll worker. Many poll workers are older, and they might be sitting this year out because of COVID-19 concerns, so more volunteers might be needed this year. Check with your state's election office to see how you can get involved—eligibility varies state by state.
There are other ways to get involved in the lead-up to Election Day. Think about the causes and candidates you care about and do some research into how you can help out. You can start by looking online.
5. Check In With Older Family Members and Friends
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Older people might have some worries about voting in person, especially since the risk of COVID-19 is still very real. Check in with them and see if there's anything you can do to safely help. One place to start is helping them look up their voting options, which vary by state.
6. Do Your Research
You most likely know who's running for president, but do you know what else will be on your ballot this year? Use the time ahead of the election to make sure you're as informed as possible.
7. Look Up Your Voting Options
Like we stated above, your voting options vary by state. Check your local election office to see what's available, like early voting or vote by mail, and the exact rules for each. In some states, if you want to vote by mail, you have to request a ballot, so you'll want to make sure you do that before it's too late. And don't forget to read the fine print on how to cast your absentee ballot—some states require notarization or for it to be postmarked by a certain date.
8. Sign Up for Text Updates and Reminders
It's easier than ever to stay in the know about election deadlines, volunteer opportunities, and any other updates. You can text VOTER to 26797, which will sign you up for alerts from I Am a Voter, a nonpartisan organization.