4 Tips for First-Time VotersMarch 12, 2019
Social media and other technology have made young people more aware of the current political climate than ever. Some legislation even exists to lower the voting age to 16; however, despite whether young people that age ever get the chance to vote, the fact remains that many of those who have reached legal voting age are eager to participate in the next election. If you are one such person, there are a few tips you can keep in mind that may make you feel more confident when the time comes to cast your ballot.
1. Research First
One of the first actions you can take before you vote is to find out as much as you can about the candidates. Check out their social media feeds, their websites, and what objective news outlets are saying about them. The more you know about their platforms, the better you can understand which aligns with your own political ideals.
It can be difficult to weed out the truth from all the sensationalism that usually surrounds an election, but it is important to remain objective. Try to garner your information from trusted sources and avoid taking what you see and hear as the absolute truth.
2. Think About Your World View
Before you decide who to vote for, review your own political beliefs and how they were formed. The opinions of your parents, older siblings, friends, and even the celebrities you admire can affect how you view politics, but when you reach voting age, taking stock of what you know versus what you believe can be important.
As you build your own political outlook, consider what kind of future you would like to see and which candidates are running on a platform that matches those hopes. For example, if you want to see cleaner oceans and fewer animals on the endangered species list, seek a candidate who wants to protect national parks and impose tougher restrictions on how large manufacturing companies dispose of waste. If you live in Seattle and want to learn about professor manweller, who is running for state representative, research his past work in the House of Representatives and all he accomplished there.
3. Apply for a Voter’s Card
You can register the same day you vote at most polling places; however, since these locations are usually quite busy during voting days, it is a good idea to apply for a card ahead of time to make the process simpler. You can apply online and also discover where your local polling station is located. Schools and libraries are often utilized, but you can find out more information during the application process.
It is important to remember that registration is required to vote in 49 states so the sooner you register, the more prepared you will be when the polls open. Take a state-issued identification card with you when you go to vote as a second means of proof of ID.
4. Seek Assistance From a Poll Worker
Voting day at your local polling place is likely to be hectic, especially in the case of a presidential election. If you arrive and are not sure how to proceed, a poll worker can help. These individuals are usually present on a volunteer basis and walk you through the process of voting, from registering to explaining the ballot.
For example, if you are voting in Washington state and want to vote the Republican ticket, a poll worker can show you where to find the candidates on the ballot and what any abbreviations stand for. Do not be afraid to ask questions, as any errors you make may void your vote.
Voting in an election for the first time can be both exciting and confusing. However, when you make an effort to prepare yourself, you can cast your vote with complete confidence.