Tuesday, November 6, 2018 is one of the most important midterm elections we’ve witnessed in recent history. With a number of states experiencing excruciatingly tight competition, the question on everybody’s mind is whether the Democrats will win back the House majority or if President Trump will stump the country once again with an unprecedented win for the Republican Party. One thing’s for certain, citizens across the country will be stapled to their seats until the very last ballot is counted.
Voter registration continues to hit record highs and never has it seemed more important for our collective voices to be heard. Our great country has been fueled by recent acts of violence spawned by intense hatred and symptomatic of our venomous discourse, but we are better than this and it’s time to start acting like it. Every American has the right to their opinion and may vote accordingly so please don’t force your righteous rhetoric down another person’s throat. All the money, campaigning, and grassroots pounding the pavement will reveal itself soon enough. We will have to find a way to move forward in peace as ONE nation together. Treat tomorrow as an opportunity to learn and listen and not to judge or bully. Let us begin by showing some respect for the process and act with poise at the polls. Here’s a list of Midterm Election etiquette do’s and don’ts to ensure everything goes as planned.
· Go Early. While most polls are open all day until 7:00pm, it’s best to head to polling booths bright and early before going to work or beginning your day.
· Bring ID. To prevent voter fraud, new laws may require an original birth certificate in addition to a driver’s license, school identification or another ID card.
· Honor Privacy. With this race particularly heated, people are preferring to keep their personal choice mum. Allow friends and family their vote without pressuring them to divulge whom they support.
· Respect Volunteers. Polling place volunteers are regular people just like you and me. They have dedicated their valuable time, they are not getting paid, and are doing their best. Be patient, kind, and polite.
· Take Reading Aids. This is not the day to forget your glasses. Reading the ballots is difficult, the type is very small. It would be a shame to wait on a long line only to discover you couldn’t decipher the ballot.
· Electioneer. An amendment prohibits people from wearing political buttons, hats, pins or T-shirts near polling places which are considered a campaign free zone. If you do so, you will be asked to remove the items or turn your tee shirt inside out. No campaign material that could influence other voters is allowed.
· Talk Politics. Don’t verbalize your thoughts about each candidate or whom you are voting for while waiting in line. It’s nobody’s business.
· Be Alarmed. There may be police presence at polling booths. Officials expect emotions to be on high this Tuesday so they are taking precautionary measures by stationing law enforcement armed with guns to ensure the safety of all.
· Dawdle. Prepare ahead of time by familiarizing yourself with the ballot choices beforehand so you may be more efficient in the polling booth. Some places will let you take a pre-marked sample ballot into the booth so that you may simply copy your marks onto the official ballot saving oodles of time.
· Be Hesitant. If you have young children, don’t hesitate to share how you voted. Use this as a teachable moment to talk about the process and the dominant message of each party. This will help them with their critical thinking and encourage them to have an independent voice of their own.
· Don’t forget to proudly display your “I Voted” sticker or pin.