Important Voter Information
Such has been the increased level of interest in this election, after the entry of Donald Trump into the race, that during the next few months many people will be voting, either for the first time, or for the first time in many years.
With Trump it is different. This time voters realize that in Trump they have a charismatic larger than life candidate and someone who is not part of the establishment as in previous years.
For this election they are motivated to get out and vote. It promises to be the biggest election turnout for many years.
With the first votes being cast on February 1st in Iowa it is perhaps a good time to explain a few of the terms and procedures that people will come up against when they do go out to vote.
This is not the most exciting report we’ve ever done, but it is important information and you should make the effort to retweet it and/or pass in along to family, friends and colleagues so they know exactly what they need to do.
Also if you find any errors please let us know so they can be corrected.
Eligibility to vote
To vote in a federal election in the United States, potential voters must meet certain requirements. No matter which state you live in, you are eligible to vote if:
- You are a U.S. citizen.
- You meet your state’s residency requirements.
- You are 18 years old. (Some states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and/or register to vote if they will be 18 before the general election.)
Registering To Vote
Register directly online with your state election office. (Twenty-three states offer online registration.)
Complete the National Mail Voter Registration Form. At the end of the process, you simply print the form, sign and mail it to the address listed under your State in the State Instructions.
Please note: North Dakota, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not accept the National Mail Voter Registration Form. New Hampshire accepts it only as a request for an absentee voter mail-in registration form. If you live in one of these states, please check with your state election office to find out how to register to vote.
You may be able to apply to register to vote in person at the following public facilities:
- State or local voter registration and/or election offices
- The department of motor vehicles
- Public assistance agencies
- Armed services recruitment centers
- State-funded programs that serve people with disabilities
- Any public facility that a state has designated as a voter registration agency
If you are outside of the U.S., you can get information online from the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) https://www.fvap.gov/ or call an international FVAP hotline.Toll-free: 1-800-438-VOTE (8683) Support Hours of Operation: 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET
Voting by Absentee Ballot
When you are away from home you can vote by absentee ballot, which allows you to vote before the election.
You can return the ballot by mail to your local election officials.
To get an absentee ballot,
Contact your local government election department.
Contact your state/territorial election office.
A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement.
Caucus meetings are arranged by either the state or political party to take place at a certain location and time. That can be a public place or simply in someone’s home.
Caucuses are unique in that they allow participants to openly show support for candidates, debate the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate, and then cast their lot. Voting is often done by raising hands or breaking into groups according to the candidate participant’s support.
Votes are then tallied and sent to headquarters, where the party totals them up and declares a winner.
The results of the caucus are used to determine the delegates present at county, state and national nominating conventions of each political party.
Most often, only registered voters can participate in a caucus, and they are limited to the caucus of the party with which they are affiliated.
Caucuses were once the most common way of choosing presidential nominees. Today, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming are the only states to rely solely on the caucus, according to the Federal Election Commission. The territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands use the caucus also.
All other states and Puerto Rico use primary elections or a combination of the voting formats.
In a primary everyone votes by ballot, but there are different types of primary – open, closed, and mixed – depending on your particular state.
Primaries are a direct, statewide process of selecting candidates and delegates. Similar to the general election process, primary voters cast secret ballots for the candidates of their choosing.
The results are used to determine the configuration of delegates at the national convention of each party.
In an open primary, all registered voters can vote for any candidate, regardless of their political affiliation.
In other words, registered Democrats may vote for a Republican candidate, and registered Republicans may cast ballots for a Democrat. Registered Independents can participate in either party’s primary.
In a closed primary, only voters registered for the party which is holding the primary may vote.
For example, if the Republican Party is holding a closed primary, then only voters registered as Republicans are permitted to vote.
In some states, parties may have the option to invite unaffiliated voters to participate in the closed primary. Generally, unaffiliated voters will not be permitted to participate in the closed primary unless they choose to give up their independent status.
Some states use a mixed primary system. In most cases, this means the power to decide who can vote in a primary is given to the parties.
Some parties may allow any registered voter to vote in their primary, some allow only those voters who are registered with their party, and others allow only voters who are unaffiliated to vote with their party members.
Other mixed primary systems require unaffiliated voters to affiliate with a party in some way in order to vote in that party’s primary. They can do this by choosing a party ballot, following their voting record, or publicly announcing which party they would like to affiliate with. The affiliation could last until the next election, until a voter requests to be changed back to unaffiliated or only for the day of the primary, depending on the state.
Primaries are held in the following states:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
So register to vote and then make sure you do vote whether it is in a caucus, primary or the general election.
And, of course, vote for Donald Trump.