Here’s how to cast your ballot

Voting is a crucial part of the political system. Casting your ballot  is one way to ensure your voice is heard. It’s not just about voting for the president but state and local politicians, too. The people who are voted into office affect your everyday life with the policies they create.

So where do you start? First, make sure you are registered to vote. If you aren’t already, make a quick stop at your local county clerk’s office or your local election commissioner’s office.  Or you can register when you get your license at your local department of vehicles. Or you can register by mail — these forms are usually available at libraries, banks and post offices. In Lancaster County,  go to the Election Commissioner’s Office; it’s on 601 North 46th St. in Lincoln.

Is it too late?

Yes. The cut off was 6 p.m. on Oct. 26, and you had to register in person at the election commissioner’s office.

Can I vote early?

Yes. If you visit the election commissioner’s office or the county clerk’s office, you can vote ahead of time. Or you can pick up an absentee ballot.

How do I know where to vote?

Each voter has a precinct in which he or she votes.  If you have a voting card, the card should say where your polling station is. If not, you can check online here.

How does my vote count?

In the presidential election, votes are in the Electoral College. In order to become president, a candidate must win 270 electoral votes. Each state has its own electoral count. The number is determined by the state’s population. Nebraska has five votes.

Local elections don’t use an electoral college. Instead a majority vote determines the winner.

How do I know if I’m a Democrat or Republican?

Did you check the box “Democrat” or “Republican” when you registered to vote? If so, that’s how you’re registered. Your party affiliation should also be listed on your voter card. Libertarian and independent are options for party registration in Nebraska, too.

That said, even if you are registered under one party, you are able to vote for a candidate in another party, if you want to.

If this is more of a philosophical question, there are exams online that can help you make this decision. A good one is Political Compass.

Remember, if you’re voting on paper to make your mark heavy and dark.

Other resources:

Nebraska Secretary of State: Frequently Asked Questions 

Sample ballot

Project Vote Smart: Nebraska

Follow the Money: Nebraska

Brennan Center for Justice: Student Voting Guide

Nebraska Election Maps

Supreme Court Allows Early Voting in Ohio

Gallup: Voter turnout could be lower than in 2008, 2004

 Compiled by Rhiannon Root

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