This is the third presidential election I have had the privilege of voting in. My first was in college, where I requested a ballot by mail from my home town and proudly sent my ballot off. It is interesting to me how vividly I remember that day (my memory is usually spotty at best). I lived in the Delta Gamma sorority house at the time, and I remember the election and who we would vote for being a very popular topic of conversation since it was most of our first chances to vote in a presidential election. We each had our own mail slot, and I remember receiving the LARGE envelope and thinking "this is the day I can make a difference!" Even though some of the candidates I voted for that year were not chosen, it did not damper my spirit or reduce the importance of voting in my eyes.
My second experience voting was at the polls. My friend and I took off from work early (ask your boss, many companies will allow you time off to head to the polls) to stand in line at a local library. I thought this was a lot more fun than voting by mail. It is exciting to see so many people who are eager to vote and let their opinion be known! I was surprisingly nervous, entering the awkward photo-esque voting booth. Luckily there are resources now that explain the different types of voting systems you may encounter. Many states use Optical Scan (think about the tests you may have taken in school on a scantron, where you filled in the circular bubbles) or the electronic version called Direct Recording Electronics (touch screen). Here is a great state-by-state guide to learn which voting system will be used in your neighborhood!
This is the first year I am voting out of my state of residence (find more about the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act ) and I used the Federal Voting Assistance Program to help me. It walked me through step by step the process of updating my voter registration and obtaining an absentee ballot from my home state of Texas! I had the ballot emailed and sent by post to my address in California. I found the printing of the envelope the most difficult part of the process and that may be because I am using the same printer I went off to college with in 2003! There are so many resources out there that can help and do encourage you to vote! Please contact your county of residence if you have any questions, concerns, doubts or just to talk to someone about voting.
The Military Spouse Residency Relief Act, gives us spouses rights to maintain our residency in a state other than the one in which our spouses are stationed.
Federal Voting Assistance Program. Their vision is to ensure "Military and overseas voters are able to cast a valid
ballot, which is counted in the election, from anywhere in the world, as easily as if they were at a polling place."
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