Protecting your voting rights: What to do to ensure you're allowed to vote
Aug 28, 2012, 8:41 a.m.
The issue of voting rights is a hot button topic these days. Are you concerned that your lack of a driver's license or photo ID may prevent you from exercising your civic duty? If so, the most important thing to do is to get educated on the topic.
Since 2011, a number of states have put new laws onto the books regarding voting rights. One of the most common laws requires all voters to show their photo IDs at the polls. For the nearly 21 million Americans who don't have a photo ID, however, this could mean their exclusion from the voting process. What's even worse is that in many cases, the majority of these people are seniors, students, and folks with financial difficulties. If you're one of the 21 million without a photo ID, you might think that you won't be allowed to vote -- but that's not necessarily true. Here are some helpful tips that will help you exercise your voting rights.
First, check with your state and local government about voting requirements. Not all states require a photo ID to vote. In some states, you can vote without a photo ID as long as you show your voter's registration card. Even if your state does "require" a photo ID, some states are willing to grant exceptions if you're accompanied by a registered voter who does have a photo ID. There are many other exceptions that can be made, so be sure to check far in advance.
If your state's photo ID requirements are strictly adhered to and you're not allowed to vote without one, you may have no choice but to get an ID. But the good news is that most states grant photo IDs that aren't driver's licenses, so you won't have to worry about boning up on your skills behind the wheel.
Voting is an important right that we all have and should be able to exercise. Make sure that you know the laws in your sate so you can be prepared when the polls open.
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