Your vote is one simple way to be an MS activist and help support MS issues.
Register to vote. The National Voter Registration Act allows a U.S. citizen (by birth or naturalization) 18 or older to register at:
- Motor vehicle departments, when applying for or renewing a driver's license.
- Nearly all government offices providing services to people with disabilities.
Applications also can be picked up at post offices or public libraries. Pennsylvania even makes applications available at state liquor stores. Deadlines vary among states and counties, but in almost all jurisdictions, you must be registered several weeks before Election Day. If you move, you need to re-register. Find deadlines for your state at www.vote411.org.
For primary elections in most states, you must be registered with a political party to vote on that party's candidates. Check your state government web site for deadlines and regulations. Or call your local election board.
Ask when a sample ballot will be available so you can review the candidates and the propositions before you get to the voting booth.
Voting on Election Day. Once you're registered, call ahead to verify accessibility. The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 requires every polling place to have at least one accessible voting booth.
- If for some reason your assigned polling place won't work for you, you can request an alternate location.
- If you need Election Day transportation, call your political party. (But do so in advance.)
- If you anticipate trouble reading fine print or handling your state’s voting machine, remember it’s legal to bring someone into the booth to help you.
Absentee Voting. Some jurisdictions are adopting mail-only balloting for local elections in an effort to cut costs and increase accessibility. Other elections use traditional polling places. Still others use a mix of mail and on-site balloting. Election officials should not use absentee ballots as an excuse to avoid making polling places accessible. In many jurisdictions, absentee ballots are not counted unless it’s a close race.
If you do vote by mail—whether because it’s a mail-only election or because you cannot get to a polling place—be sure you receive a ballot early enough and mail it back by the deadline, which is usually several days before Election Day.