Tl;dr: Deadlines for voter registration and absentee ballot requests are fast approaching. If you are not registered to vote by October 4th or if you do not request a ballot by October 13th, it may be too late.
Excited to participate in the upcoming election cycle, but not sure how to start? Confused about if you are currently registered to vote, or how you can vote without having to travel back to your polling place? We can help you, but the deadlines are sooner than you think. Here’s what you need to do:
- Register to Vote
The easiest way to register to vote or check if you are registered to vote is by using vote.org. If you are not registered to vote, this website can help you register online (if your state supports that) or by mail. Depending on your state, you will need either a driver’s license or a social security number to register.
While it’s up to you to determine whether it makes the most sense to register to vote in your home state rather than using your Olin address, consider the impact that your vote would have in your home community (school board, state senate, etc.). Policy in your hometown will likely have a more direct impact on you and your family than legislation in Needham will.
- Get Access to a Ballot
If you are currently located in the town or city in which you are registered to vote, you may have the opportunity to vote in person. Many states allow for in-person early voting and are implementing COVID specific procedures to make day-of voting safe.
If you are voting by mail, you will need to request a ballot from your local election office. If you are currently residing anywhere that is not your home address, you will need to send in an absentee ballot request form. You can use the absentee ballot request form on vote.org: https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot/. It will provide state-specific instructions, and in many cases you will need to mail the absentee ballot to your home city or town. You can then follow up with your town or city clerk to ensure that they are sending you an official ballot.
- Return that Absentee Ballot
This step only applies to you if you are voting by mail.
Once you have received your absentee ballot in the mail, fill it out according to the instructions provided. Pay special attention to where to sign your ballot and sign as closely to the signature on your ID as possible. Also double-check what postage you need and be sure to mail it in on time. Note some states (such as Arkansas) require you to send in a copy of your ID alongside your ballot, so check to see if you need to take any extra steps.
We’ll be holding office hours over the next few weeks and are also available by email. We would love to help you with any of these steps and/or help answer any general voting-related questions.