So, we are officially less than a month away from the presidential election. Regardless of your political affiliation, I think everyone is ready for some kind of change, and it's a very exciting time in the history of our country. No matter who wins in November, history will be made.
If you're 18 or older, you NEED to register to vote. I can't even emphasize enough how important this is. In our Gym Class Heroes/Underoath issue, we ran an election special, getting testimonials from band members and displaying survey results from our readers who took our online election survey. You can see some of the extras on our website.
We also ran a sidebar of info on registering to vote, and I'm going to reprint it here because I think it's so incredibly important:
Don't have time to hit up your local courthouse and fill out a voter registration form? Well, we're not sure we believe you, but we'll clue you in on some alternate voter registration methods, anyway.
Declare Yourself is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading voter awareness. On their site, simply provide your e-mail address and ZIP code; and they'll provide an online form. Fill it out, hit print, then mail it to your local board of elections. Done and done.
ROCK THE VOTE
Rock The Vote aims to bring voting power to the 45 million young people in the U.S. Similar to Declare Yourself, Rock The Vote provides an online registration form. Once you finish the form, the appropriate election board address (based on your ZIP code) is provided for you. Doesn't get much easier than that, does it?
Yep, even the government has a website with tons of voter tools. Not only can you register, but you can look up state registration deadlines and find the addresses of the nearest election office and polling places. Also, if you're away at school (or on the road with your band) but registered to vote back home, you can sign up for an absentee ballot. Your local election office with mail you a ballot before the election, and you simply have to fill it out and send it back. It's so easy, it's almost like they do all the work for you…
One of the first steps, though, is checking your state government's website to find when the registration deadline is. Some states have a cut-off day, and it's super important you find out ahead of time. Also, make sure you know where your polling place is, what kind of ID you need to take or what the deadline is for mailing in an absentee ballot. (You can also find this info on usa.gov. Put those interwebs skills to use, people!)
Like many of you, this is going to be my first time to actually go to the polls and vote. This is my third presidential election (I also voted in 2000 and 2004), but both times I was registered in Nebraska. Since I didn't live at home either of those years, I voted absentee. There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing it this way–a vote's a vote. But I'm pretty excited to actually go stand in line (and get my "I Voted" sticker) for the first time.
If you're not old enough to vote yet–don't worry. You can still educate yourself on the issues, volunteer for a campaign, or simply discuss it among your friends. In fact, AP has a Mosh Pit thread dedicated entirely to politics–so make an account already and get going!
Apathy is so 2007. Please get out there and make your vote count.
In case I'm not convincing, here are some other terrific resources:
(A very special thanks to Laila for helping compile this list this past summer.)
(I'm now stepping off the soap box. Thanks.)