Nowadays, people who have connectivity have access to more information and opportunities than ever – even voting (which is why digital inclusion is so important).
But unless you’re prepared, voting can be confusing. If you are a senior, or have a compromised immune system, it can even be hazardous to your health.
You might get to the polling place only to be told you’re in the wrong location, or they don’t have a record of you being registered, or you can’t prove your identity because you don’t have a driver’s license, or some other glitch.
Maybe you can’t figure out where to vote because you’ve moved recently or don’t have a voter registration card, or have an old one with an old address.
You may not be able to get to the polls, but want to cast a mail-in ballot and don’t know how. Or you may come up against complicated amendments, initiatives, referendums in your jurisdiction you may never have heard of. Without reading them in advance, and getting some expert advice, you won’t have any idea how to vote on them.
There is valuable information and advice online, if you know where to look. Here are some sites that will help.
- The League of Women Voters. If you know where to vote but don’t know who or what to vote for locally, the League of Women Voters is there for you. They provide personalized voting information about what’s on your ballot, where your polling place is, upcoming debates and forums in your area and much more. Just put in your zip code. You will get a copy of your ballot with the complete language of all the items on it, and what the League of Women Voters thinks your vote should be .
- vote.org is a site is devoted to making sure everyone gets out and votes. It provides a hotline number if you’re having trouble, and helpful links to check your registration, register if you haven’t, request an absentee ballot, vote by mail, get election reminders find early voting locations, locate your polling place, locate a dropbox, and track your ballot application.
- Vote.gov helps you register to vote, find voter registration deadlines, check your registration, change your political party affiliation, and learn how to get a voter registration card. If you’re already registered, you can find out about voting on election day, voter ID requirements, and the election process.
- Usa.gov You can register at this page on Usa.gov, the official government site, if you haven’t already. The site also provides information for new voters, ways to change your voter registration, confirm you are registered and provides instructions on how to get a voter registration card. Learn about early and absentee voting on this page, which makes it easier for people to cast their vote if they can’t make it to the polls on Election Day.
- Vote Riders This site aims to solve the problem so many seniors have—lack of a driver’s license to prove their identity. ID requirements to vote have become stricter in some states and if you don’t have a driver’s license you may be turned away at the polls. If this is your issue, vote riders can help. They actually provide the practical, legal, and financial support to get an ID. The site also tells you which states have strict voter ID laws and which don’t , and will help you figure out what ID and documents you need to obtain to vote.
- Voting resources for older Americans and people with disabilities. Several federal laws protect the voting rights of older Americans and people with disabilities and require accessible polling places. This site provides a list of helpful links for people who might have trouble voting due to lack of accessibility.
Know someone who needs help getting and paying for a device and an internet connection? Share this video with them about the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Get out and vote!
We all know elections are important. They not only affect national policy, but state and local as well. This article from the Readers Digest explains why voting in Midterm Elections are so important. Whoever you vote for, you DO need to get out and vote – and having connectivity can make it much easier.
Are You Digital Skills Ready?
Want to get even more digitally savvy? Senior Planet is proud to work with AARP Foundation on the Digital Skills Ready@50+™ program, made possible through a generous grant from Google.org. The resources are focused on digital essentials to help older adults find and secure jobs, change careers, or explore entrepreneurship. Visit here to learn more and register – registration is required.
Erica Manfred’s articles and humorous essays have appeared in print and online publications including the Washington Post, Atlantic, Salon, Village Voice, and the New York Times. A self proclaimed Geezer Geek, now in her seventies, she specializes in writing about aging. She’s the author of four books, including her memoir, I’m Old So Why Aren’t I Wise; Snarky Senior in the Sunshine State. You can subscribe to her newsletter at SnarkySenior.com or visit her website at EricaManfred.com