A photo of a shirt with two pens in the pocket, one is red and the other is blue

With the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus and its timeline, November’s presidential election is bound to look different than any other election. 2020 is a big voting year outside of the race for the highest office in the land. Many states and cities will have local elections prior to November as well. 

Whether it will be your first time voting or your 15th, Darling wants to make sure you feel prepared and fully educated. There is no shame in needing to Google and do a little research before you go to the polls. The resources below are here to guide you and make this election process as stress-free as possible!

Register to Vote

Rock The Vote is a website designed for young voters to get registered and educated. The website allows you to register to vote and check your registration status. If you are not sure whether or not you are a registered voter, the website draws up a mock ballot based on your location so you do not go into the polls blind! 

An important note for Rock The Vote (as well as later resources) is that you are required to enter your address and your email to access the majority of the features. Your address is required to know your voting county.

Learn About Upcoming Elections 

The second resource is Ballotpedia. When you step into a polling booth, Ballotpedia shows you what issues are on your ballot so you feel fully prepared going into polls. It also offers an overview of all elections coming up in 2020presidential, congressional and municipal, as well as school board elections. Whatever local races are happening in your area will be on Ballotpedia. 

Find Out What’s on the Ballot

An informed vote is a powerful vote! Ballotready is a great source to help you figure out every candidate and referendum on the ballot. It also allows you to request a ballot (to vote by mail), find your local polling place and check your registration.

The site gives you an inside look on the political stances and opinions of each candidate, as well as a run-down of the offices up for election. Take your time to explore and educate yourself, and save your selections as you go! You can bring your Ballotready voter guide with you to the polls to breeze through the process at the polls.

Contact Your Local Representatives

IssueVoter is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, online platform that helps everyone to have a voice. With the knowledge that constituent input can have a significant impact on representatives’ decisions, CEO and founder, Maria Yuan, created the site to allow voters to contact their representatives. IssueVoter allows you to learn about new bills, stay updated on issues that are important to you and send your opinion directly to your representatives.

The website has made a significant impact on democracy and the way in which voters communicate with constituents. Since 2016, IssueVoter has sent over 1 million opinions to Congress. Their measurable impact is included, but not limited to: 94 percent of users have learned about a bill for the first time via IssueVoter alerts, 59 percent of voters took another form of civic action and 33 percent of people changed their voting decision in a national election.

Find Your Polling Place

The National Association of Secretaries of State (or NASS) provides a state-by-state guide of local polling locations. The site will help you find your state’s online resources and search for the easiest and most convenient polling place for you. Created by state election officials, this nonpartisan website is all about helping eligible voters figure out how and where to vote.

Voter anxiety is real. You can know your values and have opinions on issues, but once you see the ballot, you start questioning yourself. Do not let this anxiety deter you from going to the polls. Voting is important. Hopefully, these resources make you feel more at ease about all the elections in the upcoming year.

What resources do you use to help you stay informed for election season? How does voting and the upcoming election make you feel?

Image via Chaunté Vaughn, Darling Issue No. 15

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