First Time Voter Guide
So you’re eligible to vote. Great! That’s the easy part. There are still lots of steps to being able to cast your ballot on Election Day. But don’t worry - we’ve partnered with Hollister to give you the full breakdown, so Gen Z can Show Up for 2020 and make history.
Step 1: GET REGISTERED
If you’ve never voted before (or if you’ve recently moved states or changed your name), you need to register to vote, even if you’re over the age of 18, a US citizen, and meet your state’s other voting requirements. And every state has different rules and deadlines surrounding voter registration. No need to pull up Google just yet. Here are alllllll the registration deadlines.
Step 2: DECIDE HOW YOU WANNA VOTE
Every election, there’s a couple different options for casting your ballot, but due to COVID-19, there're even more choices. Whiiiich means even more deadlines to keep track of. Yes, really.
Option 1: vote in person. That’s as easy as showing up to your polling place on Election Day on November 3rd (and making sure to bring a mask and identification, if your state requires it). Here’s where you can find your polling place, and here’s how you can figure out if you need to bring any sort of identification. Be sure to check hours at your polling place and show up on Election Day extra early in case there are long lines. If you can’t make it on Election Day, most states let you request an absentee ballot and drop it off at your polling place ahead of time (or mail it in - see Option 2) - or some states offer early in-person voting.
Option 2: vote by mail. There are a couple terms you’ll hear around that (hint: we crammed them for you here) - specifically, mail-in voting and absentee ballots. Typically, people could only vote by mail if you offered up a particular reason (like being out of town or sick on Election Day), but this election, at least 35 states have changed the rules to let you vote by mail without an excuse. Heads up: you’ll still need to request an absentee ballot and fill out an application to get one ahead of a deadline, either online or via mail. (Psst...see below for deadlines.) That’s where mail-in voting comes into play. Some states are just straight-up sending everyyyy registered voter an absentee ballot or a form to request one. KEEP IN MIND: if you vote by mail, try to send it out as soon as possible (as in before Election Day) to make sure it’s counted on Election Day.
Step 3: FIGURE OUT WHO AND WHAT TO VOTE FOR
Take it from us - it’s proooobably not the best idea to wing it when it comes to elections. Before casting your ballot by mail or heading to the polls on Election Day, do the research. Very important note: you won’t just be voting for prez (although definitely make sure you know where each presidential candidate stands before doing so) - you’ll also be voting for local leaders and policies. And there are a lot of them. Head on over here to get the complete breakdown of every candidate and policy on the ballot in your area.