Election 2020 is next week and… not to go hyperbolic here, but it may go down as the most consequential election any of us will ever vote in. The political landscape is contentious, fraught, and genuinely dangerous for many Americans. States across the country have already begun early voting, ballots are being mailed in daily, and if you’re still lagging on opening up that ballot book and researching those propositions and down-ballot candidates, you need to get on that. Today.
In fact, if you’re not registered and live in a state that isn’t New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Vermont, or Wisconsin, you’re already too late to register. UNLESS you live in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C., Wisconsin, or Wyoming, in which case you can still register in person on election day!
If you live in one of the five states with open registration or one of the 14 that offer same-day registration or you want to check your status, here’s a little checklist to help you out:
- Are you already registered to vote? CHECK HERE!
- Will you be voting in person or by mail? LEARN HOW HERE!
- Looking for other ways to help? LEARN HOW HERE!
This election is going to be a difficult one on every level. Poll closures, a lack of election volunteers, and different state rules on mail-in and dropbox ballots are setting us up for an absolute sh*tshow, and whether you’re a longtime voter or someone who is voting for the first time, you shouldn’t have any expectations about how the process will go down. Take time and go with the flow.
Here’s everything you need to do right now to prepare for the 2020 Election. Which is on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, by the way. 11/3/2020. Lock it in.
STEP 1: Register to Vote/Check Your Voter Registration
Are you registered to vote? If not, what the hell are you waiting for?
It’s definitely time to register if you haven’t. If you are already registered to vote but for some reason have a sneaking suspicion that you’ve been removed from a voter roll or you’re just (reasonably) paranoid, head to Vote.org, which has links to check your voter registration for each state.
Please note that while several states allow you to register to vote in person on Election Day if you’ve missed your state’s deadline, we are living in pandemic times, so how available and convenient that process will be may vary on a county to county basis.
Here’s an easy, UPROXX-supported way to register online:
Or you can follow these instructions for your state below.
Voters May Register To Vote In Person On Election Day In The Following States If They Missed The Voter Registration Deadline:
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C., Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Voter Registration is still open in the following states:
New Mexico —October 31, 2020, if registering in person. New Mexico voters get info on how to register here.
North Carolina — October 15th-31st to register in person. North Carolina voters get info on how to register here.
North Dakota — North Dakota is doing it right. You do not need to register to vote in the state of North Dakota, just bring valid ID and proof of residency to vote. North Dakota voters find your polling place here.
Vermont — Vermont voters can register to vote in person on Election Day if they haven’t registered to vote by November 3rd, 2020. Vermont voters register here.
Wisconsin — Wisconsin voters can register to vote in person on Election Day if they haven’t registered to vote by October 30th, 2020 in person. Wisconsin voters get info on how to register here.
Vote By Mail
You’re too late on this. But you can place your vote in a dropbox. Check with your local county for details.
Research Your State’s Propositions, Local Politicians, And Sheriffs
There is a very good chance that if you’re voting for the first time or don’t often engage in the political process, you’re heading to the polls (or voting by mail) for the sole reason of voting for who you believe should be our president. That’s fair — but since you’re heading to the polls, you might as well vote for everything you can. That means state propositions, local offices, and, on some occasions, who you believe the sheriff of your county, the mayor of your town, or the governor of your state should be. Do you have a bone to pick with how your mayor or governor has handled the pandemic? Let them know at the polls. Not happy with the police response to the ongoing protests in your area this spring and summer? Definitely check in on if someone is running for sheriff and whether they have a record of conduct or an opinion on law enforcement you don’t agree with.
Think your state should legalize weed, raise taxes, lower taxes, provide more benefits for people working in the gig economy? Your state has at least one or two propositions that you probably feel very strongly about. Let your opinion be known, decisions that happen on the state and local level are the type of governance that you can truly feel and see.
It’s really not enough to blindly vote along party lines. Don’t vote for that judge or official just because they have Republican or Democratic affiliation, look into their record, and decide if this is someone you feel good about voting for. You might find yourself skipping out on certain positions because you don’t agree with either candidate, that’s totally okay too!
Volunteer To Be A Poll Worker (If You Can)
In a perfect world, we would’ve all been registered to vote by mail automatically. But we’d also like to remind you that in a perfect world, we wouldn’t be living through a pandemic. We have no real choice but to play the cards we were dealt — and if we want this election to go down as smoothly as possible, we need to seriously consider becoming poll workers this year. If you’ve ever voted before, you may have noticed that a vast majority of the smiling faces you see at the polls who are there to give you a ballot and that coveted “I Voted” sticker are old. Grandmas, grandpas, swinging seniors… over half of all poll workers in the 2016 election were over the age of 60.
That’s not great, especially considering older people, and people with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible to COVID-19. Which means this election needs healthy young people to put themselves at risk. So if you’re young and healthy and aren’t terrified of the possibility of catching COVID-19 (or have a preexisting condition), you should volunteer to be a poll worker (if you can).
After Election Day, you should limit your contact with people until you can get tested for COVID-19. It’s going to suck and be an inconvenience, but as we mentioned before — this election is pretty damn important. If you’re interested, Crooked Media has an easy portal for registering to be trained as a poll worker at your local polling place.