How Can I...Vote?

October 6, 2020

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Welcome back! This week’s blog is about voting.

It’s your right to vote as an American. Since you were a child, you’ve likely been voting on things like whether your elementary school class wants a pizza party or an ice cream party. In middle school and high school you probably voted for class officers, team captains, and prom king and queen. And when you turned 18 you became legally allowed to vote in government elections. The right to vote is a big deal and you have been doing it all your life.

Voting was not always everyone’s right in America.

In 1776, voting rules were controlled separately in each state, and only white men who were 21 years or older who also owned land were able to vote. The 15th Amendment in the United States Constitution changed voting rules, but many states created poll taxes and literacy tests to prevent people from voting. In 1920 the 19th Amendment granted American women the right to vote. The Civil Rights Act in 1964 eliminated discrimination at the polls, anyone 21 or older could vote regardless of race, religion, or education. In 1971, the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years old. Voting rights are still controlled for those who have past felony convictions. In New Hampshire voting rights are restored immediately after being released from prison.

Why should I vote?

Voting is an opportunity for change. If you don’t like something, you have the power to cast your ballot. If you don’t vote, someone else will.

Things you Should Think of:

  • How do you know if you are registered? In New Hampshire, we are ineligible to register online, but you can call your local Town Clerk and ask how to register in-person. If you are a college student, make sure you are registered in your college town. For example, many University of New Hampshire students are registered to vote in Durham, NH.
  • Absentee ballots and voting by mail – In New Hampshire, you can vote with an absentee ballot. As long as you are registered, you can request an absentee ballot. After filling out the proper forms online, you have to print out the form and mail it to the address it says on the form.
  • Wondering where the Polling Places will be in your state? Check out the list and click on the state you are located in. If you are registered to vote in Durham, the Polling Place is Oyster River High School and the hours you are able to vote is from 7am to 7pm.
  • Knowing who to vote for – There are many resources that provide information on candidates in every election. Watching debates can help you decide who to vote for but sometimes just watching those do not help you as much. USA Today created an easy to read Voter Guide that compares President Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s stances on issues.

We live in a country where we can vote and elect the officials in our town, our state, and our country to represent us and what WE stand for. Voting is a chance for change in representation. Vote this November 3rd, 2020. You will be voting for who the next President of the United States will be for the next four years. And don’t stop at the Presidential Election, vote at your local elections too!

Next week’s blog will be about the racism I faced in my hometown.

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