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Voto del Barrio

Represent your neighborhood!  Gain political clout!

Upset with the policies controlling your community?  You can change that!

For too long our communities have been underrepresented by local, state and federal officials.

You can change that!

REGISTER AND VOTE!!

Please don’t waste the liberty some don’t have.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the 4 Simple Steps of Voting?

  1. Step 1: Register to vote.
  2. Step 2: Find out where to vote. You’ll receive your polling place information in the mail after you register. Polling places can change at the last minute, so be sure to double-check it right before Election Day.
  3. Step 3: Become an educated voter. Check out www.DeclareYourself.com to learn more about the candidates and issues that are important to you.
  4. Step 4: Mark your calendar for Election Day — November 4, 2008 — and VOTE!

Am I eligible to vote?

According to the Federal Election Commission, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be a resident of the state in which you’re planning to register (If you just moved to a new state for school, click here to find out more about absentee voting.)
  • Be at least 18-years-old at the time of the next election

Most states require a person to be 18 at least 30 days before the next election. Click here for your state’s information to see if you’ll be eligible.

In addition, most states have the following two requirements. You must:

  • Not be imprisoned or on parole for the conviction or a felony
  • Not currently be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law

Click here for your state’s information to see if you’ll be eligible.

How do I register to vote? And when?

Before you can vote, you have to register to vote (except in North Dakota). Each state has a different deadline for voter registration, but in most states, you need to register at least 30 days before Election Day, November 4, 2008.

Simply click here to register to vote. Follow the directions for completing the form and then mail it to the address that’s listed for your state’s chief election official. Remember that this form is for use by people who live in or have an address within the United States. (So, if you just moved away to college, you need to be a resident (have a lease, energy bill, etc.) in order to register to vote in that state.

Also, if you are registering to vote for the first time, you must include a photocopy of a government-issued ID with your photo and address on it (a driver’s license or U.S. passport will work). (If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can call your local election official to find out what other forms of ID will work.) This photocopy must be mailed along with your completed and signed voter registration form to your state’s election office (the address already on the form).

A few states do not accept MAIL-IN voter registration forms, which means that you must register in person. The states that don’t accept mailed-in voter registration forms include: New Hampshire (will only accept a mailed-in form as a request for its own absentee voter registration form) and Wyoming.

Click here to find out the voter registration deadlines and first vote rules for your state.

Make sure you understand the rules for your state. Some states have same-day registration while some states require your first vote to be in person. Click here to see the latest on your states rules to make sure your vote counts in the upcoming election!

Don’t forget your ID: If you register for the first time in a state by mail, you must present ID at the polls. Just keep that photo ID with you when you go to vote, because you just might need it.

I just moved away to go to college, how do I vote here?

If you just moved to a new county or state for college, don’t worry, you can still vote in the upcoming election. You just have to do things a little differently… If you’re a resident of the town you live in (have a lease, utility bill in your name, etc.) you can register and vote where you currently live. If you live in on-campus housing you most likely still have residency in your home state (the address on your driver’s license or ID card) and you can vote absentee. See below for more information on absentee voting. It’s easy!

A little about voting and living on campus:

  • If you live in a dorm with a school mailbox address or get your mail at a Post Office Box address you need to do things a little differently. If you receive mail in a Post Office box you can sign an affidavit or get a letter from your college’s Residential Life office, asserting that you live at your dorm address.
  • If you have a Post Office Box as your permanent address, your voter registration form will not be processed. There is a section on the voter registration form to put your mailing address, in addition to your physical address.

In both cases you can also register to vote absentee using your home state address. It’s easy to vote absentee!

What is absentee voting and how do you do it?

If you can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, you may be qualified to vote absentee. Absentee voting is conducted by mail, and sometimes in person, before Election Day. Contact your local election officials to request an absentee ballot application. Click here to find their contact information.

Some states allow voters to vote early, even if they are able to make it to the polls on Election Day. This practice is often referred to as early voting or no-excuse absentee voting. Click here to see if this is available in your state!

Many college or university students temporarily living away from home need to vote absentee. To request that an absentee ballot be sent to the address where you are physically planning to be on Election Day, you must fill out an absentee ballot request application for your home state. Click here to check your individual state’s Secretary of State to be sure what to do for YOUR state.

Here’s how you can request an absentee ballot:

  • Make sure you register to vote FIRST!
  • Click here to download an absentee ballot request application. Follow the directions on the form and mail it in to the appropriate contact and address.

If you a member of the military serving overseas, or you’re a U.S. citizen or military dependent living overseas, visit the Overseas Vote Foundation for detailed information on registering and voting.

Once I register for the first time, do I have to do it again?

You must re-register (complete the whole form all over again), or provide a written note to your election official, every time you move or change addresses; make sure you register in the state in which you are a resident. You must also re-register or provide a written note to your election official if you change your name.

How does a candidate represent his/her party’s nominee for the presidential election?

It is up to the members of a political party to choose the candidate to represent their party in the general (presidential) election. The remaining candidates focus on a concentrated period of primaries and caucuses, which peaks with close to two dozen races on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, but can continue through the Spring. The goal is to win enough delegates in each state to get their party’s nomination.

What is the difference between a primary, a caucus and a convention?

Primary: In a primary election, registered voters may participate in choosing the candidate for the party’s nomination by voting through secret ballot, as in the general election. The number of votes a candidate receives determines the number of delegates they are awarded. Primaries can be either open (you can vote for a candidate outside of your party) or closed (you must be a member of the party to vote for that party’s candidate).

Caucus: In a caucus, party members join together in their precinct to pledge their support for a favorite presidential candidate, thereby awarding delegates to the candidate. The delegates usually publicly state who they are going to vote for, and so people can vote accordingly.

Convention: The series of primaries and caucuses culminate in a national convention in which a party’s nomination for president is formally announced. During the week long convention, the elected delegates cast their vote for a party candidate and the candidate with the most delegates gets the party’s nomination. The end of the convention marks the beginning of the general election season.

  • Democratic National Convention: August 25th-28th in Denver, Colorado
  • Republican National Convention: September 1st-4th in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Libertarian National Convention: May 22nd-26th in Denver, Colorado
  • Green Party National Convention: July 10th-14th in Chicago, Illinois
  • Constitution Party National Convention: April 23rd-27th in Kansas City Missouri

If I want to vote in the primary elections, when do I have to be registered?

It depends on your state and the deadlines vary. Your registration deadline may be 30 days before the day of the primary, or you may you may be able to register the day you vote. Click here for your state’s information.

Why do the dates of the primaries keep changing?

Traditionally Iowa holds the first caucus, which is then followed by the New Hampshire primary. Some have argued that this gives those two states an unfair advantage in determining which candidates will continue their campaign. Since there are few formal rules regarding the primaries, most of the dates are chosen out of tradition. For the 2008 primaries, however, many states are moving up their caucus/primary dates in an attempt to exert more influence over the candidate selection process. As a result, according to the current schedule, more than half of the primaries will be over by February 6, 2008. This is why it is never too early to register!  Click here for your state’s primary/caucus date.

What are the main political parties?

When is the presidential election?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

In a federal election, what will I be voting on?

Because 2008 is a federal election year, you’ll be voting to elect a president and vice-president, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as one-third of the U.S. Senate. But there’s usually more on the ballot. You may be voting for a governor of your state or for members of the state legislature. You’ll also likely be voting on other candidates and issues in your state, like a “ballot measure” (a proposed law). You may also be voting on a proposition, an amendment to your state’s constitution, an initiative and/or other local issues.

Make sure to be educated about the candidates and issues that are important to you. Click here to find out more information from Yahoo! News about issues you’ll be voting on in the upcoming election. Also be sure to check out candidates’ websites, your local newspaper and other news sources you like and trust.

How will I find out where to vote on Election Day?

The location where you will vote on Election Day, also known as your “polling place,” is determined by your address. After you’ve registered to vote, you will receive a notification in the mail from the elections office. In some states, this notification will be a “voter ID card.” This notice will confirm that you are now a registered voter (congratulations!). The notice may also include information about where your polling place will be, so make sure you hold on to it.

In some states, you will receive a “sample ballot” as Election Day nears. This booklet or paper may include your specific polling place for your home address, so you should definitely save it. You may want to mark your “sample ballot” with your voting choices and bring it with you on Election Day.

Polling places can change until the last minute, so make sure to double-check your polling place online before election day.  Click here to check your individual state’s Secretary of State to find your polling place!

What should I bring with me to my polling place?

Every state is slightly different in its Election Day ID requirements. In all cases, you should bring a driver’s license with you just to be on the safe side. (Again, if you don’t have a driver’s license, just contact your local election official listed in the phone book or online to check on other acceptable forms of ID.) Some states require you to bring a “voter ID” with you. Your “voter ID” card will come to you in the mail after you register to vote. In addition to your “voter ID” you will receive information telling you where your polling place is and what you need to bring with you on Election Day. Also, if you marked your “sample ballot” make sure to bring it with you! It will not only help you remember who and what you want to vote for, but it will save you a ton of time in the voting booth.

What if I never got my “voter ID card” in the mail or I lost it before the election?

This is nothing to worry about! Remember, not all states send out voter cards, so if you don’t receive something in the mail you can always call your state’s office and double check you are registered. Click here to find the contact info for your state’s Secretary of State office. Again, because this card includes your polling place address on it, make sure to double check your polling place the night before the election!

What time do polling sites open and close?

In all states, polling places generally open between 6 and 9 a.m., and they close between 6 and 9 p.m. But each state varies slightly in its polling hours. Click here to check on your state’s Secretary of State Web site for this information.

Can I still vote if I’m in the armed forces or living abroad?

All eligible Americans have the right to vote and you can too! While you still can vote, the rules for people in the armed forces or abroad are different than people living in the United States. For information about voting abroad, contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program (http://www.fvap.gov or 800-438-VOTE.) Also visit the Overseas Vote Foundation for detailed information on registering and voting overseas.

Do I have to register with a political party?

In some states you can’t vote in the primary election if you are not registered with a party. Click here for your state’s information.

Is there anything else I need to know or do?

Don’t forget about the “I Voted” sticker…

Congratulations! You’re now ready to get registered and to start thinking about voting this year. Don’t forget to get informed and educate yourself about the candidates and issues that are important to you. Your vote DOES count! Click here to find out more information from Yahoo! News about the candidates and issues you’ll be voting on in the upcoming election.

Take the extra step and make sure you talk to everyone you know about “practicing democracy,” and point them to www.DeclareYourself.com to register to vote and get more information about the upcoming election!

Now, get out to the polls and VOTE November 4, 2008!

Source: Declare Yourself