AwareNow: Issue 7: The Return Edition

Page 25




Voting for the first time or for the first time in a long time can be daunting. The system around voting has not always been kind, but hopefully some of these steps can clarify and strengthen your confidence on Election Day. Every time someone casts a vote in an election, they are communicating their view on who they wish to represent them in our government. Exercising the right to participate in government by casting a vote is one of the most powerful ways someone can speak up in America. First time voters are the most influential group of people in any election season; they interject a new voice that prior to this had not been heard before. A first time voter has the power to enact great change that the system has not seen before. Voting can be a daunting task, but casting your first vote can be broken down into simple and tangible steps. Before you start looking into the issues you are voting on and the people you are voting for, it is important to register to vote. Becoming registered to vote is something that is unique for every state and can be completed in a myriad of ways; through online registration, a paper form, or in person. Be aware of the deadlines for registration in regards to the election that you are trying to vote in. This is the first step that must be taken in order to assure that there is a ballot with your name on it on Election Day. Next, once you are registered to vote it is important to have an understanding of the candidates that are running in your area and a grasp on the power that a political party holds. Being informed on the individuals and issues that you are voting on allows you to vote based on the candidates platform rather than propaganda circulated in the media. Being able to make cognizant decisions on a candidate is important to the future you are voting for. Being aware of who is running in your district is imperative, yet being familiar to the basic tenets that the world of voting represents is how you can distinguish the issues that are at stake in an election. A large handful of this information can be found on the websites of the candidates that represent your area and on the channels of local news stations. Then, once you are well read on the issues and candidates that you are voting for you must become familiar with your polling place. Each voter is assigned a polling place based on the address that they register with. Although the pandemic will play a role in how this upcoming election presents itself, you can use this link “Get to the Polls” to find your appropriate voting location. Finally, when the time comes on election day, do not forget to bring a photo ID. It is imperative for you to cast your ballot. Allow the people who are working the polls to help guide you to where you need to be and don't forget to grab a sticker on the way out.

PROVIDENCE BOWMAN Awareness Ties Project Manager & Columnist Providence is a Gemini as well. She is a college student at Grand Valley State University, studying International Relations. She is passionate about using her words for good and is currently piecing stories together in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She loves to spend her free time traveling, with her head in a book, and by the water. She lives everyday by her mantra that we are here to pursue opportunities and “go be awesome”.