Voting Resources Round-Up
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. Do you have everything you need to exercise your right to vote?
Whether this is your first time hitting the polls or you’ve been assiduously casting your ballot over the years, you’ve probably noticed that COVID-19 is making this election year very different from the past. But there’s no reason to be intimidated by the process! There are plenty of resources available to answer any questions you might have. Keep reading to learn more.
Registering to Vote and Casting Your Ballot
If you haven’t done so yet, you might be running out of time to register to vote. Deadlines for registering online, in-person, or by mail vary by state and you can find a break down of these dates here, but first check if you’re eligible to vote. The best place to find the most up-to-date information about election rules in your state, though, is always your local election office website.
For those who fear exposure to COVID-19 on election day, you might have the option to vote early to avoid crowds or request an absentee ballot to vote by mail. Once again, please note that eligibility for these resources vary by state and might not be available to all. For those eligible to request an absentee ballot, make sure to plan ahead—request and mail back your ballot as early as possible.
Voting in person? Follow the CDC prevention guidelines and protect yourself! If possible, avoid high traffic times, and check your polling place in advance. Hint: following your local elected officials on social media is a great way to find out how long the lines are at your polling place. Don’t know who they are? Find out here. And if you need help at the polls, don’t hesitate to ask a poll worker to assist you. They are there to help!
Researching the Candidates
While it is the presidential election that gets the most attention, there are other government roles to be filled on November 3. Are you paying attention to them? Learn in advance who will be on your ballot according to your location so you can make an informed decision about ALL candidates, not just those running for president. Google their names, check for information about them on local news outlets, and investigate what their proposals are and if they have a positive track-record in topics you care most about.
Information about presidential candidates is much easier to find. Here you can compare and contrast a summary of each candidate’s main proposed policies. Be critical of all information you receive. Take advantage of fact-checking tools like Google’s Fact Check Explorer and FactCheck.org and read these tips from Cornell University on how to critically evaluate media sources.
Know Your Rights
Your voting process should run smoothly but in the event that it does not, make sure you’re aware of your rights. ACLU has a guide with what to do according to several possible problematic scenarios, including voter intimidation, lack of accessibility, or if your English is not fluent. The main things you should know according to them?
- If the polls close while you’re still in line, stay in line – you have the right to vote.
- If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one.
- If the machines are down at your polling place, ask for a paper ballot.
- If you run into any problems or have questions on Election Day, call the Election Protection Hotline:
- English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE / 1-866-687-8683
- Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 1-888-839-8682
- Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US / 1-844-925-5287
- For Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683
More Resources to Share
Word of mouth is still the best way to encourage folks to participate in the democratic process. Help those in your network get the resources they need by sharing this article, talking to them about the importance of their vote, and spreading the word about websites like the ones below:
- Rock the Vote
- Election Protection
- When We All Vote
- US Election Assistance Commission
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Election Resources
- I Am a Voter
- Arts Vote
– Luiza Teixeira-Vesey, Designer/Marketing Officer
Know of other voting resources you consider helpful? Let us know and/or share them with your network. Sign up here to receive NYFA News, a bi-weekly organizational email for upcoming awards, resources, and professional development. Have an arts career question? You can contact NYFA staff directly by emailing [email protected].
Image: Gabe Brown (Fellow in Painting ’18); Diamond Marsh; 2017; oil and acrylic on linen over wood panel