Your Right to Know: Elections and Voter Research

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Voting and Elections

The election year is underway and many elections are set to start as early as March. With many candidates to choose, how can one know the right person to vote for?

According to USA.gov, voter guides and sample ballots will show who the candidates are and any state or local measures up for a vote.

Reviewing the measures before Election Day can help you decide who to vote for.

Many have received mailers about the candidates in their districts to have knowledge of the candidate(s) running for election and their initiatives.

Some may throw those mailers away and see them as junk mail, however, it is important to read the voter guides to know your candidate.

Voter guides provide background information on the candidates and ballot measures.

Within those guides, they will inform the voter of the candidate by race and provide details on his/her experience and goals.

Another source to know more about your candidates is BallotReady.org. According to its site, Ballot Ready offers voter guides by home address nationwide.

You can save your choices online and print or email your personalized ballot and bring it to you at the polls on election day.

Registering to Vote

Remember, you must be registered to vote for your vote to be valid. If you are not registered to vote, you can do so by going to vote.gov and register online.

You can also register in person with your state or local election office, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Armed Forces Recruitment Centers.

There are Voter Registration Deadlines. Every state except North Dakota requires citizens to register if they want to become voters. Depending on your state, the registration deadline could be as much as a month before an election.

Who Can and Can’t Vote in the U.S. Elections

You can vote in the U.S. elections if you:

  • Are a U.S. citizen
  • Meet your state’s residency requirements (you can be homeless and still meet these requirements)
  • Are 18 years old on or before Election Day (Please note: In some states, you can register to vote before you turn 18 if you will be 18 by Election Day)
  • Are registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline (North Dakota does not require voter registration)

Who Can’t Vote

  • Non-citizens, including permanent legal residents
  • Some people with felony convictions (Please note: Rules vary by state. Check with your state elections office about the laws in your state)
  • Some people who are mentally incapacitated. (Rules vary by state)
  • For President in the general election: U.S. Citizens residing in U.S. territories

Voting is your Constitutional Right. This is your way to contribute to the changes you want to see in your local and state governments.

For more information, please visit usa.gov/voting.