Exercise Your Right

Exercise Your Right No matter who you believe will lead the country best into the future, get out and exercise your right to vote today. Polls are open until 8pm. Make your voice heard. Yes, your vote DOES count!

And, if you were wondering...

Federal law requires first-time voters who registered by mail to present identification before voting.

To avoid problems, all voters should bring identification to the polls on Election Day. The most preferable form is a current government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or a passport. Voters who do not have this should bring other types of valid photo ID, or other documentation showing the voter’s name and address, such as a bank statement or utility bill.

Voting can actually be a breeze if you know what to do. Here are five simple tips from the League Of Women Voters.

Don't panic. If you are registered to vote and your name is not on the list, don't panic. You may be given a provisional ballot or be directed to another polling place.

Don't go without your ID. Be sure to bring identification -- such as your voter registration, a driver's license, pay check stub or utility bill -- something that includes your name and address.

Look at the writing on the wall. Check out the signs posted at polling places. They will include how to use the machines and your rights.

When in doubt, ask. Don't be afraid to ask questions. The poll workers are there to help. Be patient. You probably won't have to wait too long, but if there is a line, don't leave without voting.

Where you live will dictate how you cast your ballot. There are several different ways. For example, parts of New Jersey use electronic voting machines on which the voters use a touch screen to choose their candidate. Parts of New Jersey also use mechanical machines where voters pull levers to indicate their choices.

"If you want to cast for the straight-party ticket, you just reach for the lever of the party and pull it all the way to the right and that pulls down all those levers. If you're satisfied with it, you just take the handle and pull it back. That opens the curtain and casts your vote," said Bill Lovejoy, an elections official.

"Now, if you look at it, and you decide, "I don't want to vote for that person, all you got to do is take that individual lever and flip it back up and then cast the ballot for another candidate," Lovejoy said.

If you don't know where to vote, your voter registration card should indicate your polling place or you should receive the information in the mail. If you haven't by now, call your county board of elections.

As long as you are in line by 8 p.m., you cannot be turned away.

Click here to find out Where and How to Vote in New Jersey.

Anyone who experiences problems with ID or any other matters at the polling place on Election Day should call the Election Protection hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE. Election Protection is a nationwide voter empowerment program launched by a broad coalition of civil rights and voting rights organizations.

No matter who you believe is the best person for the job, make sure you take the time to make your voice heard. Get out and vote today!

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Author: R. Cohen

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