7 Things First-Time Voters Should Know

I started this blog because I was sick of reading nonsense from both sides of the political spectrum. Left and right alike would bash one another in a knock-down, drag-out fight to the death in every article I read. I imagined that there must have been someone who didn’t have the desire to shame and insult disagreeing parties. I couldn’t find anyone, so I became that person.

Today was the first time I received edification for what I was doing, I received a message from a writer that read,

“I want you to know that I am voting for the first time today, ever. It goes against my previous principles but your conversations and blogs have actually helped change my mind.”

This excites me to no end. The American culture is founded upon the principle of individual freedom and the will of the populace, and if I can make one more person go vote, I feel like I’ve done my job.

Today being voting day, I don’t want to spend any time trying to sway your vote toward any candidate. I also recognize that, because of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, a lot of people who have never voted before find themselves going to the polls today. I can’t remember what it was like to vote for the first time (even though it wasn’t all that long ago), but I want to give some advice to people who are voting for the very first time:

  1. Just bring your I.D. – You don’t technically need your ID to vote, but people look at you funny if you don’t bring it.
  2. You might need address verification – If you’re like me, you don’t want to pay that stupid $20 to change your address on your driver’s license. Well, today they asked me for my address verification (even though I’ve never been asked before). So just bring it with you.
  3. Know your precinct – Most voting locations will have different tables for different precincts. It is based on where your address is geographically. For example, where I live, there were precincts A-H; I reside in precinct A.
  4. There are a lot more people on the ballot than you think – Make sure that you know who is on your ballot. You’ll probably find a lot more than you were expecting. Here is a ballot lookup website that will show you who is running based on your zip code.
  5. You are allowed to leave some of them blank – If you haven’t done your homework before going to vote, don’t just vote for people if their name is interesting. I highly encourage you to leave the ones blank that you aren’t familiar with. Plenty of people go into the voting booth and just vote for the president.
  6. Primaries are different than the general election – You aren’t voting for the president, you are voting for the party member who will run for president in November. These rules are different state-to-state. For example, Ohio (where I assume most of my readership resides) has a “Mixed Primary”. This means that you can vote on either the Republican or Democrat primary ballot by declaring your party affiliation to the poll worker.
  7. If you need help, just ask – If you aren’t sure who to vote for, simply talk to someone who you trust and who shares your values. If you don’t have someone, I will be happy to talk to you about it. Based on what you values, I will try to help you discern who is the best choice. Just fill out the Contact form and I will get in touch with you.

If I left anything out, please let me know! I want to make sure that every new voter is prepared when they get to the voting booth.

To all who are voting for the first time: Thank you! And welcome to the democratic process- it is a very exciting thing to be involved in.

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