OK, so you've registered to vote. (You did register to vote, right? You have to be registered in order to cast a ballot. Except in North Dakota. Go figure.)
Now what? You need to vote! Here are three things to help guide you through the voting process.
You need an election! That seems pretty obvious. In any given year, there are usually two elections: the primary election (where political parties determine who their candidates will be for the general election) and general elections (the one that usually happens in November). You can vote in both of these. Your Secretary of State (SOS) has all the information you need about upcoming elections. Click here to see a list of SOSs to find yours.
You need to know where to go. Your polling place is usually determined by where you live. Polling places are usually in schools, libraries, community centers, fire stations, and other public buildings. In some states - like in Washington and Oregon - your ballot will be mailed to you and you just need to mail it back. In other places, like Denver, there are several "voting centers" and you can just go to the one that is most convenient for you. To find your local polling place contact your SOS found here.
Here are a few things to expect when you get to your polling place. First, you will need to go to the "check in" table so the nice people who serve as poll workers can check your name off the official voter rolls. Make sure you bring your ID with you. A lot of states make you show ID - like a driver's license - the first time you vote just to verify that you are who you say you are. To find out what ID you need contact your local Secretary of State found here.
Once you check in, you will either (1) be given a ballot and will be directed to a place to go fill it out in private or (2) if you live in a place that no longer uses paper ballots, you will be directed to a electronic voting machine (like an ATM) where you will cast your votes for the various races. If you fill out a paper ballot, after you are finished voting you will hand it back to the poll workers or feed it into a counting machine.
So you’ve heard about or participated in a Democracy Class, want to help spread awareness? Sign up to be a Rock the Vote street team member! As a street team member you can teach Democracy Class to others in your community or help support educators as they bring it into their classrooms. Also, street team members help register voters in their communities by attending concerts and events and sponsoring their own voter registration drives. It’s a fun and easy way to get involved.