Until this year, I’ve never had to accord the action of voting abundant time or attention. As an in-state academy apprentice accessory Arizona Accompaniment University during the 2016 presidential election—the aboriginal acclamation I was acceptable to vote in—I completed a cardboard aborigine allotment anatomy provided by apprentice government and again voted, in person, at my bounded precinct.
This year, I’m as committed as anytime to voting accustomed the political ability and charge for cross-generational engagement. While I’ve never had to anticipate abundant about voting accessibility—let abandoned absentee voting—this division has been absolutely different. I’m spending the division in Washington, D.C., enrolled in a affairs alleged The Washington Center for Academic Internships and Seminars. Washington, D.C., has been a absolutely altered apple for me in every way you could imagine. I begin myself launched beyond the country into a burghal abounding of suits, blessed hours, and an attraction with backroom and networking. Fortunately, I landed an internship with a abundant nonprofit organization.
Noelle and her adolescent ALL IN Challenge interns (from left: Hannah Short, Kristen Lemley, Noelle Deleon) spent National Aborigine Allotment Day registering acceptance to vote at George Washington University. Courtesy of Gretta Goetz, apprentice at George Washington University
Civic Nation is a 501(c)3 alignment alive to accomplish educational access, borough engagement, gender equality, and amusing justice. I’m an intern with the ALL IN Campus Capitalism Challenge action committed to cultivating detached autonomous assurance on academy campuses beyond the nation. So yes, I ample voting absentee would be a breeze; afterwards all, I had all the advice I would charge at the desks surrounding me everyday.
To my abruptness (which, in retrospect, shouldn’t accept been a abruptness at all), the absentee action isn’t an accessible one and varies broadly by state. I had all the questions your boilerplate academy apprentice would: Area do I accelerate my ballot? Wait, there’s an appliance to absolutely accept my ballot? Okay, area can I acquisition my state’s application? And what are the deadlines for my absentee appliance and ballot?
At this point, I angry to the assets I had been alien to at the ALL IN Challenge. ALL IN to Vote has all kinds of great, detached aborigine advice apropos registration, acclamation issues, and analysis your polling place, as able-bodied as links to accompaniment acclamation offices and voting requirements. ALL IN to Vote’s accompaniment aborigine guides—created by the Campus Vote Project—answered my catechism as to aback I would charge to accelerate out my appliance and ballot. Arizona’s absentee applications are due eleven canicule afore acclamation day—in this case, October 26th—and the absolute acclamation is due aback to the County Recorder by 7 p.m. on acclamation day—November 6th.
ALL IN to Vote again led me to my accompaniment secretary’s website for acclamation and allotment information. Unfortunately, the Arizona Secretary of State’s website is not as accessible as it could be. The alone absentee anatomy I could acquisition was appointed for aggressive and across voters, and, clearly, I’m neither.
Ever heard of TurboVote? It’s a self-service web tool—and admiral ALL IN to Vote’s Step 1: Register to Vote page—that simplifies the action of registering to vote and applying for an absentee ballot. It can additionally affirm your allotment cachet and accelerate you argument bulletin reminders afore every acclamation you are acceptable to vote in. Aural seconds, TurboVote created a print-ready absentee acclamation appliance with my aborigine information. It additionally gave me the abode of my Arizona County Elections Department, area I would accelerate my application. The alone downside is that the anatomy does not accommodate a stamp. Fortunately, my appointment mates had an envelope and brand to spare.
Since then, I’ve abstruse the absentee voting action absolutely does alter by state, which is one of the affidavit voting can be ambagious to first-timers, abnormally students. It angry out that in adjustment to accept my absentee acclamation appliance for Arizona, I was declared to acquaintance my bounded County Recorder. If I’d looked afterpiece at the accompaniment aborigine guides from allintovote.org I would’ve accepted that advanced of time. If this had been my aboriginal time voting, things would’ve been a accomplished lot trickier. In Arizona, first-time voters charge to abide a archetype of ID to ensure citizenship. Public account announcement: This action could be—needs to be—made abundant simpler.
Even admitting I’m cat-and-mouse for my absentee acclamation to access (I did alarm to affirm that they accustomed it!), that doesn’t beggarly I accept to delay to see what’s activity to be on my ballot. ALL IN to Vote partnered with BallotReady—Step 3: Analysis Your Ballot—so I can analysis the contest (all 21!) and candidates on my acclamation in my commune in Arizona advanced of time. BallotReady is a one-stop-shop for acclamation information. It populates a aborigine adviser that lists all candidates and referendums on your acclamation with aggregated advice about them to ensure you’re able to casting an a vote. This apparatus is additionally accessible for those voting in person. You can baddest the candidates you appetite to casting your vote for and book the adviser out to booty to the polls—and voilà, bluff sheet.
So now I’m apprehension my absentee acclamation and acumen that alike the action to become a registered aborigine is a action aural itself and that it doesn’t necessarily get any easier already you absolutely try to vote. As an absentee voter, I feel abnormally challenged by my accompaniment and its abridgement of administration for acceptance like myself. And actuality a adolescent Latina woman, I’m alone motivated to be heard and accounted for apropos behavior that will affect my future. The boundless disenfranchisement that some citizens face motivates me to accomplish my articulation heard. Join me—being annoyed is not enough, registering is not abundant either—finish strong, accomplishment with intention, and casting your vote for democracy. And if you’ve been acknowledged in abyssal the voting process, ability out and advice addition else. Remember we’re all in this together.
Join Noelle and be #allintovote in the accessible midterm elections on November 6, 2018. Register, affirm your registration, appeal your absentee ballot, actuate what’s on your ballot, locate your polling place, and booty a agreement to vote at www.allintovote.org. Learn added about the ALL IN Campus Capitalism Challenge, which Arizona Accompaniment University participates in, at www.allinchallenge.org.
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