Vote!

10/17/2018

I know, you've heard it said, time and time again, how important it is to vote. I am going to have to agree with whoever said those words. In a time where our government is dominated by straight, white males who are reeking havoc on our country, the LGBT community and fellow minorities need to take a stand at every possible opportunity.

I've been so hard at work on Coming Out and Coming Through that I missed a lot of chances to assist people in registering to vote, and, for that, I'm very sorry. However, if you are registered to vote, please find your way to your poling location on my book's release date (11/6/18) because these midterm election are so important. If the Republican party continues to control every facet of our government for another two years, we are all in so much trouble.... unless you're a straight white male with no regard for your fellow citizens in marginalized groups.

It is a beautiful thing to have the chance to vote! So many countries do not have this freedom that we do. Make sure to take a photo ID just in case! Better yet, if you can find your voter registration card, take that too. With so many issues with voter rolls being mysteriously purged, it never hurts to carry too much identification.

If you find yourself purged, do not despair. Here is some helpful information I've borrowed from ajc.com:

"If you are having a problem voting, tell someone.

Talk to a poll worker before you finish voting. If you do not get help from a poll worker, ask to speak to a supervisor. If your problem is not resolved, you can report the issue to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The phone number to call to report an issue with voting is (800) 253-3931.

What kind of problems should be reported?

  • Polls closing early (meaning they close even if you were in line to vote before closing time)
  • Not having enough ballots
  • Being intimidated or pressured to vote for a particular candidate
  • Challenging identifications - 34 states require voter identification to cast a ballot; of them, 18 require voters to present photo identification and 16 accept other forms of identification. Click here to find out what your state requires before you vote.
  • Dealing with ballots that are confusing
  • No help or lack of help with voting procedures for people with limited ability to speak English
  • No accommodation for handicapped voters

What should you do if you are turned away without casting a ballot?

If you do not have the proper identification to vote at your polling place, you should be given a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when there are questions about a voter's eligibility. Provisional ballots are the same ballot you would get under regular circumstances. It allows you to vote then election officials will work to verify your eligibility to cast a ballot.

Per federal law, poll workers are required to give you a provisional ballot."

No matter what November 6th brings your way, make sure you  make time to get to your polling location. This midterm election means way too much for us to sleep on it.

With hope for a better country,
Matt Smeltzer