I have recently realized the importance of voting. The definition of a vote according to the Webster Dictionary is "a usually formal expression of opinion or will in response to a proposed decision; especially one given as an indication of approval or disapproval of a proposal, motion, or candidate for office."
As I have just come to the age I will be voting in my first election in preparation, I have researched and decided my vote. It is very important to vote because it allows more accurate decisions to be made. You are also contributing to better your country.
Some suggestions I will have is to not follow in the opinion of others. It is your right to be able to vote for anyone you decide; you also have the right not to reveal your vote to anyone else. Do not decide on one party for the sole reason of what anyone else might think. Know the changes you would like to make, then elect the representative you believe will make those decisions.
1. Register to vote
You can do this online, at your town or college. When I was offered to register at my high school they asked if I would register with a political party. Or if you're not sure if you would like to do that, you could also register as an independent.
2. Mail in an absentee ballot if you live out of state
If you are out of state during the time of voting, approximately thirty days or more before the election you should mail in an absentee form to the people responsible for out of state voting. Once you receive your absentee ballot, you should research anyone you don't know on the ballot so you can return the form in a timely fashion.
3. Know what you need at the polls
What do you need when going to vote? When going to the polls you should have one of the two forms of identification most states require. One form is to present your social security card, whereas the other is a form that has a signature, your address, and name. If you don't present these forms of identification you will have to sign a form and present it later.
4. Understand the ballot
Understand the positions you are voting for and who you believe will do the best in this position.
5. Actually vote!
In the weeks leading up to the election, there will be commercials, debates, and speeches made by some of the candidates. It is YOUR job to find the truth from what the are saying. Obviously, it's not entirely possible to know when someone is lying. But you can do research and know the candidates to better prepare yourself.
All in all, it is up to you to take into account your morals and prior knowledge. The hard thing is to not be influenced by others who don't have the best intentions. With this knowledge, I believe you will be ready to hit the polls.