Don't like polling lines? How to vote absentee
Sep 5, 2012, 8:24 a.m.
In the United States, there are three dreaded lines that most of us would do anything to avoid: the DMV, the Post Office, and the voting polls. Thanks to the internet and other technologies, you can usually avoid the horror of lines that never seem to end at the DMV and the Post Office. But what about avoiding lines at the voting polls? The fact is, you can go to the Post Office or the DMV at just about any time that is convenient for you. Voting, on the other hand, only happens on certain years, and on a specific day. What if you're on vacation, at home sick in bed, or just plain don't want to bother with the lines? This is where knowing how to vote absentee can come in incredibly handy.
So how do you go about voting absentee? Absentee voting is actually quite simple. The first thing you need to do is make sure you're registered to vote. To do that, you'll have to check with your county clerk's office for your state's requirements and preferred registration methods. You can usually register to vote online, through the mail, or in person at several locations throughout your state.
Once you're registered to vote, your next step is to get online and go to www.vote411.org . On this website is where you'll find all of your state's absentee voting requirements, including how to sign up, deadlines for registration, and any restrictions. Some states have very strict criteria governing who can and can't vote absentee. For example, Louisiana has nine bullet points of specific circumstances that make a person eligible for absentee voting -- such as being a sequestered jury member, or if you're expecting to be hospitalized on election day. Alaska, on the other hand, allows you to request absentee ballots anytime you like.
Knowing how to vote absentee can be a huge help if you're retired, especially if you enjoy migrating south for the winter and won't be in your home voting state at the time of the election. However, this shouldn't mean that you don't get to vote. Remember, everyone's vote matters. The option to participate in absentee voting isn't just convenient, it also helps protect your right to vote and ensures your voice is heard.
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