Election season is here, and that means you'll have to cast your ballot soon, whether that's before or on Election Day. For the people who don't know where to start when it comes to voting, here are some resources to help get you started.
Check your voter registration
Before you do anything, check to see if you're registered to vote in both your state and county. Be aware of registration deadlines, too. Some states won't allow you to vote if you're not properly registered before the election.
You can also visit your state government's website to check your registration status, your voting districts, polling locations, and other information. Make sure your information is up-to-date before you head to the polls.
Look up the candidates in your district
The biggest elections tend to be the presidential races and Congressional seats, but other important races are on the ballot. These range from various local offices to other state positions. A quick Google search helps for more obscure candidates. OnTheIssues is a great non-partisan resource to look up the political positions of high-profile candidates. Sometimes, counties will send information about who will be on the ballot for your districts.
Most states have many options for voting depending on your circumstances, including absentee voting, mail-in ballots, early voting polling locations, drop boxes, and more. Rules for these options vary by state and have certain deadlines for requesting ballots. Visit your state or county's website for more information on what you can do to cast your ballot.
If you plan on voting on Election Day, see if your job will give you some time off to cast your vote and arrive early. Check your voter registration status for information on your designated polling location. Vote.org will also send you reminders about upcoming deadlines.
What should I bring with me to the polls?
States have different laws regarding what documents you need to vote. Some simply require a driver's license, while other people need to bring utility bills, voter registration cards, or other information to confirm their residency and status. Visit your state or county's website to see what you need to bring to the polls. HeadCount.org tells you what documents you need to vote in every state.