CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR
Election Day is rapidly approaching, and you’re going to vote for the first time. Yikes! Politics isn’t really your thing. What do you do? Relax, we’ve got you covered.
To start, you must be registered to vote. If you haven’t yet registered, you missed the vote this time, but it’s never too early to register for the next one — and you can do it online.
If you did register on time, there are two ways to vote — either in person at the polls or by submitting your vote via mail.
Each state has different mailing and ID requirements, but if you are voting in California, the polls are open 7a.m. to 8p.m.
If you are registered to vote in another state, you will want to mail in your vote with an absentee ballot, which you can receive by using the Federal Post Card Application, a form that can be completed and sent electronically or mailed to your election office.
The presidential election begins with the primary from January to May, which decides which candidates are solidified for the election. The Democratic and Republican party then hold a national convention to formally nominate a presidential candidate. Campaigning takes place leading up to the election, which includes town hall meetings, debates, and rallies.
Every ballot includes the presidential and vice presidential candidates. There are five candidates in the presidential campaign this year: Donald Trump for the Republican Party, Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party, Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party, Jill Stein for the Green Party, and Gloria Estela La Riva for the Party of Socialism and Liberation.
A solid portion of U.S. House of Representatives and Congress are also up for election. These are known as down-ballot candidates, who are running for offices other than the presidency. There are also local races as well for state legislators, courts, sheriffs, and local ballot measures.
“Down-ballot candidates are essential. Unless the president has a supportive Congress, he or she won’t be able to accomplish much, as we saw during President Obama’s second term,” said sophomore Political Science majorNick Yatroussis.
There are a variety of resources to use as guides, such as rockthevote.com, a nonprofit organization designed to drive more youths to the polls and make voting easier. “Find a couple good newspapers you can rely upon and read them religiously; that’s the best way to stay informed,” Yatroussis added.
Facebook is also making voting easier by simulating a ballot online. You can enter your address to see the candidates, their positions and the propositions available by state.
Propositions are ballot measures ranging from the legalization of marijuana tothe taxingof cigarettes to the funding of healthcare and are decided by the voters.
We have a voice in the political process and voting ensures we are heard.