The midterm elections are literally only weeks away and many Americans face roadblocks to getting to the polls. For example, for some, registering to vote is extremely difficult if you don’t have a driver’s license. For others, simply being a mother makes it very hard to actually get to the polls. There are also more than 25.4 million unmarried women, people of color and young people who are not expected to turn out to the polls this election. To help you avoid falling into the “non-voter” category, we rounded up some of the most popular roadblocks to help you better prepare for November 6th.
Forgetting to Register or Check Your Registration
Anyway, my big lesson is: don't be like me; tell your friends & family to not be like me. Check your registration, keep trying even if site is down. There are a hell of a lot of affidavit ballots out there tonight marked for candidates who didn't win, and that sucks.
— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) September 14, 2018
There have been countless cautionary tales of people reporting that they either forgot to register to vote, or they arrived at the polls on Election Day only to find that they were not registered. Technically, if you skip several elections in a row, there is a chance you can be removed from voter rolls. That’s why it’s critical that you check to verify that you are registered—even if you’re fairly confident that you are. Then, if you aren’t, make sure you do so before your local registration deadlines (which are coming up in the next few days). Be sure to check your registration online via your state website.
Not Having an Election Day Voting Plan
In the last midterm election, nearly 60% of eligible Americans did not vote — 35% of those non-voters cited school or work obligations as the reason why. That is the main reason why it’s critical to create an Election Day plan. Whether it’s determining whether state laws or your individual company allows you mandatory time off from work to vote or planning ahead by completing an absentee ballot, there are several ways to avoid falling into a last-minute race to make it to the polls (or even worse, realizing you simply won’t make it).
Not Knowing Where to Go Vote
In many instances, you may find yourself visiting the same elementary school or local civic center to cast your ballot in each election. However, in states like Georgia, organizers have had to work hard to fight off voter suppression tactics that lead to the last minute closure of polling places. Changes in polling places can happen fairly late in the game, which is why it is critical to check and check again where you need to go to cast your ballot. You can do this by simply visiting your state website.
Not Having a Way to Get to the Polls
Traveling to your polling location—especially if it’s been moved—can be extra difficult if you live in a rural area or do not have easy access to transportation. In fact, more than 15 million people cited transportation issues in the 2016 elections as a primary barrier to voting. However, this year, Lyft is offering great news to voters who have struggled to get to their polling place in the past. They will be offering 50% off discount codes to those who need rides to the polls. Make sure to stay tuned-in to their Twitter page to learn more.
Not Knowing Who to Vote For
Many people make it through all the hurdles in the U.S. voting system and arrive at the polls only to find that they have no idea who the candidates are—or they only know a few. Don’t guess your way through the ballot this year, but instead, do your research in advance. You can learn everything you need to know about what will be on your ballot when you visit Ballotpedia.org.