Election Day 2016

With so many major issues impacting the lives of millions of Americans, the upcoming November 8th election serves as a platform for citizens to make their voice heard. So many Americans are calling for change, and regardless of what candidate you support, now is the time to do so. While it may appear as if mainstream media only pays attention to presidential candidates, it is equally as important to vote for local candidates who may have a greater impact on the daily lives of those in their communities.

Get informed on not only who is running for the U.S. Senate or House in your area, but also find out who are the candidates running for state senate, state assembly, and judges of local courts. Search the background of these candidates and see if they have an active track record in the issues they advocate for. Also look up state measures and propositions and see how they affect you. Are you against the California death penalty? Are you in agreeance with background checks for the purchasing of ammunition? These are just a few of the measures addressed in the California ballot for the upcoming election. To find the current measures listed on your ballot for this election visit Ballotpedia, and enter your zip code for a ballot relevant to your area.

The official deadline to register to vote in California is October 24th. While some state deadlines have passed, other states allow you to register on Election Day such as New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The only state that does not require residents to register to vote is North Dakota. To check your state’s deadline, visit the U.S. government’s official website here.  

If you are already registered to vote in California on election day, you will not need to provide identification or proof of residency to vote. The only times you will be required to show a form of identification is if you have registered to vote via mail or online, did not provide your driver’s license number, state identification number or last four digits of your social security number on your registration form, or if it is your first time voting on a federal election in a county. For a list of acceptable forms of I.D. and information on what to bring to the polls on voting day, check out Rock the Vote’s ID requirements by state.

In California, polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you work during those times, you can still vote under The California Elections Code section 14001, which states that all employees are eligible for paid time off for the purpose of voting only if they do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote. There are some restrictions: only a maximum of two hours can be taken off from work to vote, your employer may require you to give an advance notice for the time you plan on taking off, and your employer may require time off to be taken only at the beginning or end of your shift. Be sure to check your state’s secretary of state website for specific information regarding “Time Off Notices.” Your state’s secretary of state website can also provide you with information regarding your polling place.

In the words of Sharon Salzberg, “voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and this world.” Make sure you show your commitment this November.  If you would like unbiased information regarding all presidential and state candidates and state propositions, be sure to visit websites such as Rock the Vote, and the League of Women Voters. If you would like more voter registration information as it applies to your state, the League also has a great resource called Vote411.

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