Alicia Nicole Nov 5, 2012

Know Your Rights: Voters’ Edition

Election 2012Tuesday’s primary elections is quite possibly the biggest, most important event in modern history. In order to make sure your vote is cast and counts, here are a few things to know:

1. Time to Vote

Most states require companies to give time off for voting. Even if your state doesn’t mandate that your job give you time off, most companies have policies around time off for voting. Be sure to check your company’s human resources book for their voting policy and sign up for an allotted time if need be.

Also, note the hours of your voting site. As long as you are in line before it closes, you can vote.

2. Know WHERE to Vote

Many people are not aware that you can’t vote just anywhere. You must go to your designated polling site based on your address. Also, note that many states have undergone redistricting, meaning your polling site may have changed. And a vote cast at the wrong place might not get counted. Not sure where to go?  Call your local elections office to verify the location or do a quick Google search of “voting location” or “where to vote” and Google will display a voter information search box above the results.

Please note, those ravaged by Hurricane Sandy may have alternate voting options. For example, displaced NJ residents may submit a mail-in ballot application either by e-mail or fax to their county clerk via email or fax. In NY, approximately 60 sites have been changed. The Board of Elections of New York City posted this release of new poll locations.

3. You do not need your ID to vote.

While voter ID is an issue on this year’s ballot, as long as you are properly registered, you will not need an ID to vote Tuesday. If an official at your polling place tells you that you cannot vote because you do not have your ID, ask to speak with the chief election official or a voting rights volunteer at the polls.

4. Read Instructions. Carefully.

Carefully read the instructions found at the top of your ballot. These will guide you through the complete voting process and are the only instructions that count. Make sure to fill your ballot completely and in the manner demonstrated in the instructions.

If something is not clear, ask for help from poll workers.

5. Your Voice, Your Choice

Vote for the candidate you believe in. You are not required to share your vote with your boss, nor can you be fired or penalized your political beliefs.

Now, go out, vote and let your voice be heard. After all, that is your right!