If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.
There are so many mantras and clichés when it comes to voting, especially during presidential-election years like this one. Admittedly, sometimes it’s hard to make the time to vote, specifically for people who work shiftwork, work out of town, or drive over-the-road trucks. But the moment the right to vote is taken for granted, something happens to jeopardize it, as was the case recently in Lincoln, Neb. Some visually-impaired citizens wanted to participate in early voting. This story, where voting machines weren’t ready for early voting, shows how folks’ ability to participate in the democratic process (note with a little d) is directly affected by their voting access and how they are not taking the right to vote for granted.
But the reality is that elections in the recent past have been very close and very expensive. And politics and government directly affect a great deal of people’s lives, whether you agree with the current government or not. And in some ways, states are making it easier for people to vote early in person or absentee (early voting) by mail. But results do vary from state to state, of course.
The good news is that in many states folks can still register to vote.
Here’s an excellent link to a page called Long Distance Voter that includes information like how to register to vote, get your absentee ballot and most important, at this stage, what the deadlines are for different states. It also explains if there are details for your specific state, specifically New Hampshire and Wyoming. Unfortunately, there are some states where voter registration is closed for this election and this link lets you click on specific states to check.
But some of these states may allow provisional voting on Election Day if you’ve moved and can go to your polling place that day, so it’s important to look at the specifics for your own state. If nothing else, I would encourage you to go ahead and register so you’re prepared for the next election.
Missouri trucking company Prime Inc.’s blog post here is a pretty comprehensive resource from @TruckingJob via Twitter that was written for truckers. I found the information helpful and though there is some duplication with what I’ve written, there are also some additional points that I thought were interesting.
I also think it’s helpful that Long Distance Voter not only covers all the states but also has links to each specific state, so follow up is easier. Two states where the firm’s attorneys are licensed to practice are Iowa and Nebraska, so links and some of those states’ details are below.
- Voter Registration Form: Received on or before October 27, or postmarked on or before October 22 if received after the deadline. You may also vote in person on Election Day.
- Absentee Ballot Application: Received by 5:00 pm on or before November 2, 2012
- Voted Absentee Ballot: Postmarked on or before November 5, 2012, and received by noon on the Tuesday after the election
- Voter Registration Form: Postmarked on or before October 19, 2012. Delivered in person on or before October 26, 2012, at 6:00 pm
- Absentee Ballot Application: Received by 4:00 pm on October 31, 2012
- Voted Absentee Ballot: Received by 8:00 pm on November 6, 2012
Other useful links:
So please register and vote. The future of the United States literally depends on it!