Rock the Vote 2012!by Gabby Fastiggi on Sep, 18 2012
Were you inspired by the rousing speeches and debates you heard at the National Conventions? Do you look forward to Saturday Night Live skits featuring America’s presidential frontrunners Governor Romney and President Obama? Have you been following the election buzz in your weekly newspaper?
Even if you’re not a poli sci major or planning on running for the next gubernatorial seat, politics is applicable to you, and guess what? It’s time to vote!
Although voting is the core tenant of a democracy, many of us may not know how to utilize this right. But fear not for here are step-by-step instructions demystifying the voting process.
Step 1: Complete a Voter Registration Form.
You can find these at your local elections office, at DMV offices, all city clerk’s offices, public libraries and post offices. You can also print out a form from https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/register-to-vote/. All registration forms must be mailed in or hand-delivered to your local elections office. For students registered in Berkeley, the local office is located at 1225 Fallon St, Suite G1, Oakland, CA 94612. For a list of county elections offices and information, visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_d.htm. Also, if you’re feeling lazy, a form can be mailed to you if you call the Registrar of Voters at 510-267-8683 or the Secretary of State at 1-800-345-VOTE.
*Tip: If you venture down to Lower Sproul, I’ve also seen a tabling booth set up to get students to register to vote and they have forms there!
Voting registration must be postmarked no later than October 22, 2012 in order to be able to vote in the General Election on November 6th.
Step 2: Make sure that you are registered to vote, in the location you want, and with the party you want to be affiliated with. Visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/registration-status/, provide your address and birthdate and you will have access to your Voter Profile to check that you are in fact registered and that all of your information is correct.
If you change you address or party affiliation you will need to fill out a new Voter Registration form. As a student you can decide to register to vote using either your college address or your family’s address. The difference depends on which elections for council members, mayor, or ballot initiatives you want to vote on!
Step 3: Go vote! You will be informed of your polling place by mail and just need to show up at the time window and location they give you. You will receive a sample ballot prior to the election to review candidates and new legislation.
For most students I would recommend voting by mail if you register with your home address that isn’t nearby (otherwisehave have to trek home to vote on a Tuesday!). In California you can register to vote by mail without providing a reason. This option may be easier for students’ hectic schedules. You need to apply to vote by mail at least a week before the election and you can do so at http://www.acgov.org/rov/forms/vbme.htm.
I’m not going to sit on a pedestal and preach to you the benefits of voting with trite phrases such as “the next generation is in the hands of the youth,” “every vote counts, you can make a difference” or simply put “do your civic duty.” While these all may be true, I just want to leave you with the simple fact that if you neglect to vote, your views won’t be represented. It’s as simple as that. Now get out there and rock the vote! At the very least, you get a cool sticker.