In 2022, there were 168.42 million voters in the United States. Voting is a rite of passage for many, being the first adult decision they’ll make. Almost everyone over 18 can vote, with a few exceptions. There will be 116,990 polling places scattered throughout the country collecting votes. Because of this, there will be long lines in these places. With security questions regarding mail-in ballots increasing the urge to vote in person, these lines will probably be longer than we’ve seen them before. Today is Election Day, so here are some tips if you find yourself waiting outside the polls to cast your vote.
Keep Up To Date On Your Registration
Months before any election, you should check if your voter’s registration is current and active. If it is not, you’ll likely not be allowed to vote. By registering to vote, you are ensuring a fair election by only allowing one vote for yourself, instead of multiple ballots being placed in your name. It will also inform you of your designated polling place to cast your vote. Not every town has a polling place, and while Uber and Lyft offer voting discount rides, you’ll need to still go to the right place. It can be done online at https://vote.gov/ or in person at your local Board Of Elections. 32 states require an ID, so make sure that yours is up-to-date as well.
Dress For Success
At some locations, there is a good chance that the line will most likely start outside. It’ll be a good idea that before you leave, you check what the weather forecast is like at your polling place to dress accordingly. Most of the time, the temperature is usually in the upper 30s or lower 40s, so you should likely wear at least a light jacket or sweater. Rain showers are possible, as we often see a spike in showers around this time of the year. To prevent getting wet, grab an umbrella as you are leaving. Most places will allow you to wear your party’s swag, but few might have rules against it. If unsure, call your Board Of Elections to see what your polling place rules are.
What To Bring
You don’t need to bring a lot with you, just enough items to keep yourself comfortable. Bring a few snacks to curb your appetite. I often bring a salty snack, a sweet snack, and a meat stick if I plan to be out all day. Carry a large refillable water bottle with you to stay hydrated. Bring a book or something small (and quiet) to entertain yourself in line. Leave your phone at home or in the car as almost all places have them banned from the voting booths for security reasons. There are going to be a lot of people, so bring hand sanitizer and travel wipes to stay healthy. You don’t need to bring pens as they will be provided if your place still has paper ballots.
Know The Issues
Your ballot will have more things on it the just candidate names. Most states will be passing laws on them. States will draft bills they wish to make into laws called “Issues”, "Measures", or “Amendments”. The issue will be a simple yes or no answer. Yes means you want it to be a law, and no means you don’t. Most groups that support a certain issue will campaign for you to say yes much in the way a politician will to get you to vote for them. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each issue in order to make an informed decision. To find out what your state issues are, download a sample ballot from your State Secretary’s office website.
Once you are done voting, go out to congratulate yourself. You’ve finally had your voice heard! Good job to you! Many companies will be giving away freebies to those who vote. These offers may be limited by location, so check to see if yours will be participating in any election day deals. Krispy Kream will be giving away free glazed doughnuts that will go great with a free cup of coffee from Wawa. Fast-food chains will be giving away free food through their apps. The Cheesecake Factory will be offering free slices on orders over $25.