Vote

Hello, Have You Registered to Vote Yet?

Registering to vote is one of the most crucial responsibilities that we have as US citizens. 2019 is an off-year, but if you live in Kentucky, Mississippi, or Louisiana, 2019 is a gubernatorial election year, so it’s still important to prepare yourself to vote come November 5. And of course, the next US presidential election will be happening on November 3, 2020. If you’re not registered to vote already, it’s good to get the registration process out of the way now! 

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Voter registration can be a kind of complicated and confusing process, but there are some great online resources available to make registering to vote as simple and painless as possible! Vote.gov is an incredibly helpful website that can help you make sense of your state’s voter registration policies. All you need to do is enter in the US state or territory that you live in, and vote.gov will provide easy-to-follow instructions to help you register to vote! Currently, 38 states (plus Washington DC) allow online voter registration. If you live in one of these states, vote.gov will direct you to your state or territory’s online voter application site, where you can quickly and easily register to vote from the comfort of your own home!

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If you live in American Samoa, Guam, New Hampshire, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, or Wyoming, you’ll need to register in person at your local election office. Vote.gov provides links to the elections sites for each of these states or territories that will instruct you on how and where to register in person. If you live in Arkansas, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, or Texas, you can register to vote by mail. Vote.gov provides a downloadable and printable PDF of each of these states’ voter registration forms, which you can fill out and mail in to your state! Finally, if you live in North Dakota, you don’t need to register to vote at all! On Election Day, all you need to do is show up to your local polling place with a valid state ID, and you’re good to go!

Additionally, different states and territories have different registration deadlines. If you register to vote after these deadlines, you won’t be eligible to vote that year, and will have to wait until the next election year. The US Vote Foundation allows you to look up your state or territory’s registration deadlines, so you know how much time you have to submit your registration forms. If you live in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, or Washington DC, you can register to vote as late as Election Day itself. 

Although voter registration might seem like a hassle, it’s incredibly important to get it done as soon as possible to ensure that everything goes smoothly on Election Day. Voting is a civic responsibility for all US citizens, and you shouldn’t let the complicated bureaucracies of voter registration stop you from exercising your right to vote! 

Here Are 3 Ways That You Can Support Your Local Community

We all want to make the world a better place. Some of us show it in different ways, like sorting out all our recycling or having meatless Mondays to try and reduce our impact on the environment. Making the world a better place doesn't have to be about the world though, it can also be about your community.

Often small changes in our behaviors can have a huge impact on others, sometimes even saving their lives. Through helping your community, you can create a ripple effect that is seen around the world. Here are 3 amazing ways you can help your community, and start that ripple.

Shop Local

Source:  Flickr

Source: Flickr

One of the biggest impacts you can make on the community is by choosing to shop as locally as possible. From choosing your vegetables at the farmer's market, to buying your books at the tiny used book store on the corner, you are changing lives for the better. Your money is going directly to the families in your community, and staying in the community.

That means when you buy your lettuce from Farmer Joe, you are paying for his daughter's violin lessons. If you buy it at the super market, you're paying for Big Bucks CEO to make $1200 an hour. Shopping local can make a vital difference in your community, and can have the largest reaching impact.

Volunteer

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

Not everyone has time to volunteer. We have busy lives, and some of us work full time, or have children that keep our hands full all the time. If you do have some free time, volunteering can make a huge impact on some of the things you feel most passionate about. If you love animals, volunteering at a shelter can help see those strays dwindle. Understand what it is like to escape domestic abuse? Volunteering for a shelter for women or men who have been abused can help heal old wounds. Some of the rules for volunteering can be pretty demanding. If you can't promise the hours you need to or have limited time for a formal volunteer location, you can volunteer in smaller ways.

Volunteering can be as simple as shoveling and salting your elderly neighbors walk during a snow storm, or tutoring a child who otherwise couldn't afford the lesson. These things may seem small, but they can have a lasting impact on both the person you help, and the people who inspired by seeing you to pitch in.

Speak up

Source:  Flickr

Source: Flickr

Sometimes you don't even have to do anything besides a phone call or a note to make a difference. If you see a store clerk doing something extra, let a manager know. If you see your neighbor, ask how they are doing and check in to see if they need anything. Face to face communication can make a huge impact in the world, starting with brightening a person's day.

The first step to taking care of your community is to simply care, and you're doing that just by reading this article. Get out there, and start building a better world, one step at a time.

Image source: Flickr