It’s National Voter Education Week!

All voters should have access to the tools and information needed to be able to cast their ballot with confidence. Each day this week, there is an action you can take in order to make sure that your voice is being heard.

First, it is important to know why voting is important. When you vote, you are getting a say in who is going to represent you. With that comes the chance to vote for someone that is going to represent your ideas and bring up issues important to you.

Registration is the first step to becoming a voter! Monday, October 4th focuses on voter registration. Voter registration is a process that most states require where you sign up to vote. While the minimum age requirement to vote is 18 years old across all 50 states, there are many states (including Washington state) that give those that are the ages of 16 and 17 the chance to pre-register to vote. You should check in on your voter registration status ahead of the deadline to make sure you are ready to go by Election Day. You can register to vote here: Can I Vote | NASS. #VoteReady

Tuesday, October 5th is #MailReady day. The next step in this process is requesting your mail-in ballot. Voting by mail is often referred to as “absentee voting”. When you vote by mail, you receive your ballot in the mail, fill it out, and then return it either by mailing it or by hand-delivering it to an elections office or a designated, secure dropbox. Voting by mail keeps lines short at the polls for people that need to vote in person. This form of voting has also become more popular because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people preferred to vote by mail in the 2020 election instead of in person for their safety. Voters in Washington state automatically receive a ballot at the mailing address listed on their voter registration, so it is important to make sure your mailing address is up to date.

The action item for Wednesday, October 6th is making a plan to vote. Depending on what is more convenient for you, you can decide whether you would like to vote in person or with a mail-in ballot. If you are planning on voting in person, it is important to plan ahead where you are going to vote and how you are going to get to the polling station. #VotePlanReady

Action item #4 on Thursday, October 7th is dedicated to making sure you know what is on your ballot and that you are confident with your choices. Before you cast your vote, it’s easy to read up about the candidates running for federal, state, and local office in your community. It is important to get prepared ahead of time so you are confident when you cast your ballot! Even if you have completed these steps in making sure you are participating in elections, you do not have to stop there. #BallotReady

The last action day, Friday, October 8th, encourages everyone to level up their voting engagement. Whether you are volunteering at a polling station or texting your friends to remind them to vote, you are doing your part in making sure everyone is getting their voices heard. You can encourage 3 of your friends to vote here: Get Three Friends to Vote – Rock the Vote.  #VoteReady

Whether you are voting in a local, state, or federal election, it is so important to make sure you participate!

Kayla Villanueva
Yakima Student Council President