I remember the first time I voted as a new citizen living in a new town. I remember thinking how easy it would be to find the building, walk in, cast my vote, and go home. And it would have been just that easy if I had been prepared. First you have to know that in my small community, there are three precincts. The community is farmland, township, and village. My husband calls us the village people so I guess we live in the village. Rule number one: If you are going to vote, know your precinct number and where the voting booths are stationed. I first went to the wrong precinct and was redirected to another. I arrived, strung my way through the line, showed my ID and, you guessed it – wrong again. Since the voting stations are all within a couple blocks of each other, I figured – three times the charm, right? So I went to location three where they checked my ID, gave me a blank stare, and sent me back to the precinct I first went to. Seems they had reorganized and my address fell within the ‘redrawn’ lines of the precinct. Now all those shenanigans were funny compared to what I learned about going out to vote in an election without all the important facts.
Rule number two: Know who and what you’re voting for. I try to be a knowledgeable voter. I make a list of names and proposals I will vote for when I get into a booth. If I don’t know enough about the candidate’s stand on issues important to me, I don’t vote. Because I was new to the area, some of the names on the ballots were unknown to me. Some of the proposals were community-centric and I didn’t know about them either. My evening at the election wasn’t a total loss because I was able to cast my vote for a few candidates, but it taught me a lesson on preparedness.
In one week, November 4th marks the date of our National election. This article asks How well do you know your candidates? and prompts some good questions. How you answer them today might indicate the need to dive into some research before next Tuesday arrives. Hint: TV Commercials are not a reliable database for researching the facts.