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The Right to Vote: Know The Laws in Your State

Election day is less than a week away and both candidates are making the last final push to ensure that people show up to the polls on November 6th. These final ‘get out the vote’ campaigns are a testament to how important each person’s vote is in the election. Whether you are sending in an absentee ballot, or planning to cast you vote at your local polling place, it is important to know the laws that are in place to protect your voting rights so you can make sure your vote is counted.

Voting rights have a long and tumultuous history in the United States. It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when an African American couldn’t vote just because he was African American. Or a woman couldn’t vote just because she was a woman. Or a soldier going off to defend his country couldn’t vote just because he wasn’t 21 years old. The Fifteenth amendment, the Nineteenth amendment, and the Twenty Sixth amendment along with the Voting Rights Act made it possible for virtually anyone to show up on election day and participate in the most basic form of civic engagement.

Even with all the obstacles that have been overcome to ensure that every person of voting age has the ability to have their voices heard, there is today, yet another law being debated that has the potential to affect your ability to vote on election day. Voter identification laws are popping up in all 50 states. Over the last several years many states have implemented laws that require voters to show some sort of identification at the polling place on election day.  If a voter is unable to present adequate identification they can be turned away.

These requirements can change quickly and without much notice. Some states have more stringent requirements and require you to show a government issued ID while in other states a billing statement will be sufficient. Some states, like California, do not require any form of ID unless you are a first time voter.  In any case it is important for you, the voter, to know  your states’ requirements so you can be sure to cast your vote on November 6th.

Here is a breakdown of current voter ID requirements for all 50 states.

Voting is the easiest and arguably most effective way to participate in our democracy. Know your voting rights, find your polling place, and show up on election day!

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