Just Wishin’, Hopin’, & Prayin’

What a joy it is to be able to vote in this historic election!

No matter whom you are voting for, here are some suggested tips to make your voting experience successful:

1. Make sure you don’t wear any campaign gear – buttons, pins, hats, shirts, etc. to the polling precinct. Campaigning is prohibited at the polling site. New rules now include what voters wear to the polling site.

2. Let your employer know a rough estimate of when you plan to vote. Because voting turn out is predicted to be extremely large this year, you may have to wait for a little bit. Don’t be discouraged! Just let your employer know so that you won’t feel pressured to leave the polling place. In fact, by law, your employer has to grant you at least 2 hours to vote. Check your local district to find out how much voting time you’re given. I’ve heard that some employers are closing so that employees can vote without worry.

3. Go prepared. Bring something to read (that doesn’t feature a candidate) and maybe a snack.  Plan when you’re going to the polls. Right now, poll precincts are preparing for a rush in the morning (7 – 10 a.m.) and after work (5 – closing). That leaves midday as possibly your best option. Think about when your poll was busiest during the primary, that can be a guide.

4. My suggestion as a former election day worker, is to vote on the paper ballot. The electronic machines are great. In a lot of jurisdictions, the electronic machines meet ADA (American with Disabilities Act)  regulations. My strong suggestion, however, is to vote a paper ballot. The paper ballot can be recounted and tracked  in a paper trail, if necessary. Voting on the paper ballot may involve a longer wait – so that’s always a consideration.

5. Bring at least 2 forms of identification with you and make sure that both forms have the address you registered to vote with on them. It’s always good to have 2 forms of ID with you – a driver’s license and passport, or State ID and a bill, or a student ID and birth certificate.

6. Know where your voting precinct is located! Your state will have a webpage where your local precinct will be listed. Here are a few samples of what the BOE pages look like:

http://www.elections.state.md.us/

http://www.ok.gov/~elections/

http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/Voter_Information/Voter_ID_Requirements_in_Virginia.html

http://www.elect.ky.gov/federal_legislation.htm 

7. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! And be patient. It may take time to get your hands on that ballot. Stay patient. Your vote counts, it matters, you’ve gotta do it. Once in line, don’t leave! FYI: As long as you are in the line to vote by the time the precinct is scheduled to close, you will be able to vote. That means, if the poll closes at 8 p.m., and you get into line at 7:59 p.m., you will still be able to cast your ballot.

8. Have a plan to celebrate! This has been an anxiety inducing election. One way to deal with that is to surround yourself with friends, family, and your candidate supporters, so no matter what happens you’ll be buoyed by those around you.

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