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Get the Facts Straight: Voting

A comprehensive guide to the midterm elections

The+mid-term+elections+are+coming+up+on+Nov+6.+
The mid-term elections are coming up on Nov 6.

The mid-term elections are coming up on Nov 6.

via Flickr CC

via Flickr CC

The mid-term elections are coming up on Nov 6.

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With the midterm elections coming up, it’s more important than ever that our generation understands the voting process. But with so much vitriol and confusion spiraling on the web, it can be hard to get a clear picture of our political system. Are you confused? We’re here to help.

How do I get registered?

The first step is making sure you’re even eligible to vote. The first is age: if you’ll be 18 years old by November 6, then you’re good to sign-up. There’s a few other important stipulations: you have to be a legal citizen of the United States, you must live in the county where you’re registering, have never been convicted of a felony, and can’t have been declared mentally incompetent in a court of law.

The next step is actually getting registered. To be able to vote, you have to complete and submit an official voters application. Don’t know where to find one? You can get an application at the County Voter Registrars offices, the post office, or at the public library. Want to register from the convenience of your computer? Visit this site to download the application within minutes. If you’re completing the form from home, make sure to mail it to:

Williamson County Elections

P.O Box 209

Georgetown, TX 78627

On the application, you’ll have to either provide a driver’s license number, a personal identification number provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, or your social security number.

Not sure if you’re registered? Check using this system. If you think this is a mistake, make sure you check with your local County registrar’s office. If your legal name has changed, or if you’ve recently changed addresses, make sure you update this with the registrar.

Easy, right? We thought so too. The last day to submit your application is October 9. If you don’t have it in by then, you don’t get to vote.

What would I be voting for?

While the midterms aren’t necessarily a Presidential election, they’re still a big deal. This year in Texas there are several important positions up for election. These include:

  • The Governor of Texas
  • The Lieutenant Governor of Texas
  • Attorney General
  • A seat in the United States Senate
  • 36 seats in the United States House of Representatives
  • Several seats in the Texas State Senate
  • 150 seats in the Texas House of Representatives
  • The Mayor of Austin (Travis County)

This is by no means every position that’s up for election. For a full list, click here.

So, all of that probably seems pretty overwhelming. That’s over 100 people up for re-election in Texas alone. Don’t worry! Here’s a breakdown of who represents Williamson County, and therefore who you’d be voting for. That narrows down the candidate pool significantly. Because primary elections have already happened, both of the major parties already have candidates. You can find out who those people are here.

Now that you know the who, it’s time to learn the what. Researching candidates stances on various political issues is vital for getting accurate representation- in other words, don’t just vote along party lines. Sign up for iCitizen to see each candidates stance on your ballot. Don’t know where you yourself stand? Download Voter to see which candidates you best match with, or take this online test to see where your political affiliations may lie.

Where can I go to vote?

Now for the most important part of this entire process: actually showing up to vote. Using your voice matters when it comes to elections, even if you think it doesn’t. Sign up here to see if you’re registered to vote, and to see where your voting locations are. It can vary based on where you live, so make sure you put an accurate address.

Now, there are a few things you’ll need to take with you when voting in person. For a comprehensive list, click here. In summary, you’ll need an acceptable form of photo ID that the poll volunteers will use to verify you’re able to vote.

If you won’t be in town on election day, don’t worry. You can always apply for an absentee ballot so that you can mail in your vote without being present. Accomplish that here.

Reminder: Voting will take place November 6.  

Why does voting matter?

To put it simply: we all care about something. Whether it’s agriculture, immigration, or gun control, there’s an issue out there that you’re invested in. Politics- whether we like it or not- matter. Our laws and the people who create them set the tone for our culture.

Even if you can’t vote this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. Talk to your friends, families, and coworkers who are eligible to vote and talk to them about getting registered. We’ll be affected by our representative’s political decisions every single day- it’s important that we play a role in shaping their choices.

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About the Writer
Bri Branscomb, Editor-in-Chief
Hi! My name’s Bri Branscomb, and this is my third year on staff for The Roar and second year as Assistant Editor. I’m very proud of the material we produce, and am excited to get to spend another year with all my fellow staffers! When I’m not working on newspaper, I can usually be found...
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