A Guide to Registering and Voting

Commentary

With Trump setting the table for a contested election, voting, voting early and voting properly is more important than ever!

With only 40 days left until the election, with voting already starting in several states and with the sitting President of the United States, up for re-election, threatening to “get rid of ballots,” and contest the election results, it is more important than ever in our history to vote, to vote early and to vote properly.

With that as a preface, I will turn Around the Block over to David Leonhardt of The New York Times whose “This Morning” column today includes: 40 days to Nov. 3.

Leonhardt’s column is reproduced below. The link to the column is here:

I urge anyone who has questions about voting to read this piece. I urge you to send this piece, or the link above, to anyone you know who is unsure about the voting rules and regulations in their state. I urge you and your correspondents, if in doubt about any voting related matter, to use the links in Leonhardt’s column; many will take you to information about voting procedures in specific states.

This is simply too important to leave to chance. We have a President of the United States who is lying about voting and the entire election process; a President who will do anything to undermine the results of the election; a President who is threatening not to concede if he loses and not to step down; a President who does not respect Constitutional norms and is willing to put this Constitutional republic in mortal danger to further his own goals.

We cannot give him the ammunition to do any of those things by not voting or not voting properly. It is simply too important!

Election Day is 40 days away, but voting is already underway in several states. To help you vote during this unusual year — in a country where voting is already more difficult than in most other democracies — we have put together a step-by-step guide.

Register. Check your registration status through a national group of state officials or at Vote.org. If you aren’t registered, move quickly. The earliest deadlines, including in Florida and Arizona, are less than two weeks away. In 40 states, voters can register online. In others, like Texas, you’ll have to mail in a form or submit it in person.

You can also use a one-stop hub from the group When We All Vote, which lets you enter your address and then offers information on how to register and vote.

Vote by mail. Most states have loosened their rules during the pandemic, but they differ by state. In many places, you must first fill out an online form requesting a mail-in ballot.

You should pay careful attention to your state’s rules for returning a ballot. In Pennsylvania, for example, you must enclose it in two envelopes. In North Carolina, a witness must sign your ballot. Ignore these rules, and your vote may be thrown out. Historically, mail ballots are rejected much more often than in-person ballots (although some states are taking steps to reduce rejection rates this year).

To meet your state’s deadline for mail-in ballots, the safest bet is to vote as soon as you know which candidates you support. If you live in one of the many states with drop-off locations, you may want to visit one of them rather than mailing in the ballot. Most states will also let you track the status of completed mail ballots.

Or vote in person. Voting in person during the pandemic appears to be about as safe as going to the grocery store — low risk but not no risk. Many states are taking measures, like spacing out voting booths, to increase safety. You should also wear a mask and stay at least six feet from others.

In most states, you can vote early even if you’re voting in person.

Make a plan.Social-science research has found that people who make a specific voting plan — exactly when and where they will vote — are more likely to do so than people who vaguely promise themselves that they will.

Once you’ve made that plan, tell others about it, in person or in your social-media feed. The announcement will help you stick to the plan and encourage others to do the same. You can also use a platform like Outvote to encourage your friends and relatives to vote, via text messages and social media.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy.

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