A First-Time Voter’s Guide to Voting Responsibly

If you are an American citizen that is voting for the first time this election season, congratulations!  You are finally going to experience the right to vote to guarantee a government that is truly by the people and for the people.  Voting is not the most difficult thing in the world.  However, there are a few rules when it comes to voting, especially for this historic election. 

#1: Know the Candidates

We are lucky to have the right to vote and we are especially lucky to have all of these resources to get to know who the candidates really are.  With the internet and the 24-hour news cycle, it is impossible to not know who these candidates are.  Know the histories of the candidates and ask yourself: Do I believe this person can be a successful President of the United States?  While the media gives a bulk of the information needed, it is possible that the internet and media focuses on tiny aspects of these candidates.  This is where step two comes in. 


With the endless amount of resources out there, everyone can be their own investigative journalist.  We do not have to wait for the media to find the information we need.  What issues are important to you?  Is it climate change?  The economy?  Whatever it may be, research what the candidates have to say about these issues and what do they plan on doing about it.

If you are a person that does not have a core issue in mind, take a look around and find what stands out.  Then decide what you want from a candidate and find out which one is most likely to help in that issue.      

Some great resources for learning about issues that concern Americans today include The New York Times, Politifact, and yours truly, The Network for Responsible Public Policy.    

#3: Register to Vote

Yes, you have to register.  Yes, there is a deadline.  A person who wants to vote must register 21 days prior to Election Day.  Here the Network for Responsible Public Policy is here to help again.  Go to www.nfrpp.org/voter_registration and register through our website.

While you are at it, convince friends and family to vote.  Not too long ago, only white men were allowed to vote.  With a lot of fighting that went on for years, we all have the right to vote and yet, every election day has a low voter turnout.  Let’s not take this right for granted.  So many people fought long and hard for this right.  Many gave their lives for it.  Make them proud by voting and convincing others to do the same!

Mark your calendars:  Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.  Happy Election Day!


Ariel Barreras, Student Intern 

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