In Blog: Factually Speaking

From the First Tuesday newsletter
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The election is a little more than a month away, and I hope you are all planning to vote on Tuesday, November 8th. Voting is one of the most important and effective things you can do to shape public policy.

Unfortunately, voting can still be challenging and intimidating for some. But it is your right, and I urge you to exercise it. Here are some tips that can make voting a little easier.

  1. Make sure you’re registered to vote. If you aren’t registered, you have until October 11, 2016, to register to vote.
  2. Find out where you vote and make sure your polling place hasn’t changed.
  3. Make a plan to vote. Thinking about what time of day you’ll go and how you’ll get there ahead of time makes you much more likely to vote.
  4. Don’t be late, be there by 8. The polls close at 8:00 p.m., but if you are in line at 8:00 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.
  5. You can view your ballot now.
  6. You can bring your kids to the polls. Don’t let a lack of child care prevent you from voting.
  7. Although still a little complicated, college students can choose where they vote—back home or at school.
  8. Bring photo ID…but you still have the right to vote without one. If you forget to bring a photo ID to the polls or do not have one, you are still allowed to vote by asking to sign an affidavit of identity.
  9. You may be eligible to vote absentee. If you will be out of town on Election Day or will not be able to make it to the polls because of illness, disability, or religious beliefs, you can vote absentee. You can also vote by absentee for any reason if you are age 60 years old or older.
  10. Individuals with a criminal record can still vote, including convicted felons who have served their time or those who are on probation or parole.

This election is extremely important. We are voting for our next president, our federal, state and local elected officials, and for southeast Michigan residents like myself, we’ll be voting on a new regional transit proposal to connect Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties (the League is urging a “yes” vote).

In addition to using these tips to prepare for Election Day, I also encourage you to engage with your candidates and inform your vote this last month. Democracy is the bedrock of our country and voting is a right that women and people of color fought hard for. Do not take voting for granted or let anyone convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, because I assure you it does.

— Gilda Z. Jacobs

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