Get Out The Vote: It’s NOT Too Late – You Can Register & Vote at the Same Time 

By Jenna Shelton
jshelton@lc.edu

A line of voters at the Bethalto, Ill. Community Center. -Photo by Jenna Shelton

In the past, I have always voted by mail since I could never get away long enough to stand in line to vote because I was the main caregiver for my father for many years before he died. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, I had originally planned to vote again this year by mail but when I found out that many of the regular poll judges could not work the polls this year due to the potential risk, I ended up volunteering to be a judge. 

I have been placed on the reserve list, so if something happens, and they need a backup judge, I am the one they will call. I decided I better go ahead and vote early (Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020) to beat the crowds on Nov. 3, and I am so glad I did— I was able to get in and out within 35 minutes.

Going through the training to prepare to be a polling judge though, I was surprised at one fact— people can still register to vote on election day. I don’t know why I thought there was a deadline to register to vote, and there is, to make things easier.  What I had not realized was that if one had missed that deadline, they could still go to their local election location, show proper identification, register and vote all in one day.

It is important to make note that the person must be in the correct Polling Location for their address in order to vote, which can be found on their county election websites. They must also show two forms of identification, one of which must have their correct and current address; they must be at least 18 years old; they must have lived in that State, County, or Precinct for at least 30 days and they must be a citizen of the United States.

I recommend looking up a sample ballot for your county and researching the candidates and propositions if you are not already familiar with what you would be voting on so you can be an educated and informed voter. For example, just because someone may vote for a Democratic or Republican candidate for one position does not mean that every candidate on the ballot has to also be Democratic or Republican. 

The people that you vote into office should be voted into office based upon what you are looking for in that candidate. Find out about them, evaluate their standards, ethics, background, leadership abilities and how others view the candidate; look at their track record and what they are proposing to do in the future. In four years, will you be okay with saying you voted for that person, or will you be embarrassed?

You might say, “I’m just one person, my vote doesn’t really matter when it comes down to it.”  But it truly does when you put together all of those people who say that. As numbers of millennials increase while baby boomers decrease, it is only a matter of time before the young people’s voices overtake the older generation but unless they get out and vote, it will never happen and we will continue to live and complain about life as it is. Younger people not voting will be directly affected by issues like federal job programs and college tuition. 

For more information please look at your county website. Here’s Madison County’s website for election information.

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