The 2014 Election: Your How-To Guide
Posted by Robyn
November 4, 2014
Happy Election Day, folks!
It’s time to head to the polls and do your civic duty for the good ol’ U S of A. If you weren’t planning on voting, we explain a little more why it’s so important that young people vote.
If you’re still a little unsure, or maybe you’ve already decided to vote, we detail just how easy it is.
Make sure to share this with your friends, family and peers to spread the word: our votes matter, but in order for them to actually make an impact, we need to actually vote!
Why you should vote?
But I really don’t care… I don’t have to vote, right?
Millennials often get a bad reputation for being “lazy” and “uncaring.” Older generations love to say that we’re apathetic about a lot of things, especially politics. That’s simply not true.
We DO care about the future of our counties, our states, our country. Voting is a great way to have an active say in what laws and decisions pass in your locality. Almost 11 million youth voted in the midterm 2006 election. Still though, only around 1 in 6 eligible voters did so in the 2010 election, which is on par with previous midterm elections.
The reputation that we have as being disinterested isn’t true, and as young voters, we make up around 21% of the voting public. That’s a lot of opinions, and a lot of change that we could be making.
It’s not even a big election… does it really matter?
You might think that because this is an off-year election, meaning a midterm election rather than a presidential election, that it’s not even worth voting. But that’s simply wrong.
We may not be electing a president, but that doesn’t mean we’re not voting on important issues, from immigration to the economy. This year’s election is also important in regards to the Senate, which could switch parties depending on the outcome.
You’re also still electing official for your state. Do you care about the laws in your state? Yeah? Then you’ll want to vote.
If you want more information on some of the issues in this election, theSkimm compiled key facts for certain states. If you’re interested in women’s issues in the election—which everyone should be—Refinery 29 ran a great piece by a female senator.
Voting is really hard and time-consuming, though… my vote won’t make a difference, yeah?
If we all think this way, none of us will end up voting. Plus, your specific opinion and vote definitely does matter!
Voting isn’t all too hard, either. There are a few key pieces of information that you should know before you head to the polls, but it’s a piece of cake from there—and yes, you can reward yourself after with actual cake.
How do I vote?
Fine, you convinced me… now where do I go to vote?
You’ll need to find your polling place. It’s based on where you live, and in what county you’re registered for (which is important to remember if you moved away for something like college or a job).
If you’re registered to vote, you probably got something in the mail a while back with your voting locations and a sample ballot. If you lost that, fret not. The Internet is here to rescue you.
“Where’s My Fucking Polling Place?” and “Get to the Polls” can both find your polling location if you input the address that your registered at. As a bonus, both sites list the candidates, so you can do some last-minute research if you need to.
Make sure to also double-check when the polls will open and close, that way you can be sure your vote will count.
Before I leave, what should I bring with me in order to vote?
Every state varies a little, so make sure to check your state’s specific requirements. Rock The Vote lists what you need to vote (as well as a ton of other information too!).
As a general rule, you’ll probably need a picture ID with a signature on it. If you lost the voting card that you got when you registered to vote, it’s no big deal. You don’t need to bring that with you.
And then I just… fill the ballot out?
Yep! If you have any specific questions, there should be someone at your polling place who can answer them. Make sure to check if the ballot is two-sided, so that you can complete the whole thing.
Also, fill in the ovals completely and don’t make stray marks.
That’s it! You did it. Celebrate with a selfie with your “I Voted” sticker, or reward yourself with a treat for being an engaged and responsible young adult.
You helped make history today—because every election is a little bit of history—so make sure to be proud that you’re making your voice be heard in any way possible.