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16-Dec-2004 - My Year of Living Dangerously

25-Nov-2004 - Corporate Support for Republicans

24-Nov-2004 - Seventy!

12-Nov-2004 - Quick Update

1-Nov-2004 - Election Eve News

1-Nov-2004 - Endorsement

1-Nov-2004 - Latest Polls

31-Oct-2004 - Words of Encouragement

31-Oct-2004 - Vote for Kerry Even in Safe States

31-Oct-2004 - Halloween Election News

30-Oct-2004 - Today's Political News

29-Oct-2004 - Political News of the Day

28-Oct-2004 - John Kerry's Historic Endorsements

28-Oct-2004 - 25 Years Combating LGBT Violence

28-Oct-2004 - Daily Political Updates

28-Oct-2004 - How You Can Protect Your Right to Vote

27-Oct-2004 - The Last Straw

27-Oct-2004 - Conservative Quotes for Kerry

27-Oct-2004 - Breaking Political News

27-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 5

26-Oct-2004 - Another Look at Taking Back the Senate

26-Oct-2004 - Breaking News of the Day

25-Oct-2005 - Breaking Political News of the Day

24-Oct-2004 - Can the Democrats Regain the House?

23-Oct-2004 - Early Voting Trends

23-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 4

22-Oct-2004 - Bush OKs New Corporate Tax Cut

22-Oct-2004 - Beware Fox News and MSNBC

21-Oct-2004 - Gymnast Paul Hamm Gets to Keep Gold

20-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 4

20-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 3

19-Oct-2004 - Movies Released in 2004

18-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 2

18-Oct-2004 - The Crystal Prison

17-Oct-2004 - What If There's a Tie?

16-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 3

15-Oct-2004 - Endorsements for John Kerry

13-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 2

13-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 1

12-Oct-2004 - Ranked Choice Voting Hits San Francisco

7-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 1

7-Oct-2004 - Prince Adares Shows Signs of Royal Affinity

7-Oct-2004 - Controlling the U.S. Senate

7-Oct-2004 - Key Battleground States

6-Oct-2004 - Democratic Hopes for the 2004 Elections

6-Oct-2004 - Welcome to The Imperial Gazette

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October 28, 2004

Protect Your Right to Vote

Around the country, but particularly in battleground states, Republicans are actively trying to disenfranchise voters and keep them from helping decide the next president.

To protect your right to vote, there are a few things you can to do.

 

1. Take advantage of early voting.

Many states now offer the option of voting in the days and even weeks preceding an election. Some pollsters are reporting that as many as 11% of registered voters have already voted, and expect that number to double before November 2nd rolls around. In California, early voting is usually available in City Hall (as it is right now in San Francisco).

Even though many of us enjoy the tradition of voting on election day, there are numerous advantages of voting early. Any possible confusion about one's correct polling location (as in Florida where many polling places had to change as a result of the recent hurricanes) is mitigated. Any questions about whether you're correctly registered to vote can be resolved before election day, as can any documentation of proof of identification. And early votes are counted first, giving you a chance to "bank" votes on election day and see an immediate impact once polls close. And voting before election day gives you all day on Tuesday to help get out the vote.

NOTE: If you have received an absentee ballot but have not yet returned it, please note that in most states it must be received by election officials (not simply postmarked) on election day. Remember, you can always hand-deliver your absentee ballot to early voting locations, or turn it in to any precinct on election. Only turn in your ballot to election officials in official election locations. There have been reports in some areas of people going door to door to pick up absentee ballots, claiming to be official poll workers. This is a scam to steal votes!

 

2. If you can't vote before election day, vote early on election day.

Things can always happen. Bad weather can make one wonder if it's worth schlepping out to the polls. Rumors of early returns elsewhere might discourage you or recklessly embolden you. The babysitter or preschool might call saying that the kids are sick and you need to come home, or your boss might call an emergency meeting at the end of the day.

If you vote in the morning, you'll typically avoid longer evening lines, and the normal day-to-day issues that can come up later in the day won't keep you from exercising your right to vote. And if an election official can't find your name on the list, there's time to look up your correct polling location.

 

3. Look up your correct polling location before you go to vote.

Don't assume that you'll be voting in the same place you always do. You probably will, but it may have changed. If you try to vote in the wrong location, you may be denied, or they may provide you with a provisional ballot that will only be considered in the event of a close state or local race. It's always best to spend extra time going to the correct location - don't settle for a provisional ballot if you can avoid it.

Your polling location should be printed on the back of the voting materials you received in the mail. You can also look it up by entering your street address and zip code into the mypollingplace.com website. If they don't have your address, contact your local Board of Elections (or look online: they may have a website). If worst comes to worse, try calling the local Democratic Central Committee to see if they can look it up for you.

 

4. Bring a photo ID.

Some areas may require proper identification when you vote, particularly if it's your first time registered at that address. If your driver's license, passport, or state identification card uses an older address than where you're registered, it's safest to also bring a utility bill, phone bill, or paycheck that has both your name and your address printed on it.

 

5. When you vote, know your rights.
  • If you're already in line when the polling place closes, stay in line. You have the right to vote if you were already in line. Election officials may refuse to allow latecomers to get in line, but polling locations must continue to permit anyone already in line by 8:00 p.m. to vote no matter how long it takes to complete the line.

  • In many states, your employer is required to give you time to vote. You cannot be fired for coming in late for exercising your right to vote. If you're concerned, check with your manager before election day to find out what your company's policies are regarding coming in late or leaving early to vote, or look up your state's regulations at Ourvote.com.

  • If an election official cannot find your name on the list of registered voters, you have the right to use a provisional ballot. It's always best to vote in the correct location and avoid a provisional ballot if you can, but if you're convinced that you're at the right place, insist on being given a provisional ballot.

  • If you have a question about how the voting process works, ask an election official in the voting location. Election officials cannot advise you on whom to vote for, but can help you understand the mechanics of the process.

  • If you make an error with your voting ballot, you have the right to request a fresh ballot. Election officials will destroy the original ballot and issue you another.

  • You have the right to cast your vote anonymously and without harassment or intimidation by anyone.

  • For additional information about voting rights in your state, please see Ourvote.com.

 
6. Act on any suspicions of election tampering or mischief.

If there are specific individuals who are challenging your right to vote, or are intimidating voters, or are otherwise interfering with the process, try to get their names. Write down exactly what happened, including the time of day, the location, the names and descriptions of the people involved, and any other details. Then report the problem:

  • MoveOn PAC will have a form on their website where you can report inappropriate behavior.

  • Common Cause will have a hotline to call to register complaints: 1-866-MYVOTE1. They'll watch for patterns of abuse and provide real-time legal assistance in the hotspots.

  • In the event of an extreme problem, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. This number is reserved for the most extreme problems, like the 911 of election fraud hotlines. Trained attorneys will be available to provide advice and assistance.

 

MoveOn PAC has a downloadable PDF ballot protection card that you can print out and take to the polls. It provides these numbers in a handy, wallet-size card that you can bring with you to the polls.

 

2004. All original articles and commentaries published on this site remain the copyright of Kevin C. Goebel except where otherwise attributed. You may use excerpts with an attributed to The Imperial Gazette and a link to either www.cosmomovieawards.com/ig or directly to the excerpted article. For additional information, or to be alerted for new articles and updates, please email the Royal Scribe.