Things That Matter

Voting 101: Top Tips For First Time Voters Or Those Just A Little Out Of Practice

The election heat is on, and you might be totally new to the whole affair. There are a whole lot of things to figure out if it’s your first time voting, including whether you’re eligible, as well as questions about timing, logistics, candidates, and more. No worries, though, because here are some tips for first-time voters as well as people who may be a little out of practice.

And with the Coronavirus pandemic and Republican attacks on voting rights and access, it’s more important than ever that you vote with as much knowledge as possible.

Below, see everything you need to know about being a first-time voter, from registration to placing an absentee ballot to what items you’ll need to be prepared when you head to your polling place.

Make sure you’re registered to vote!

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The first step in preparing to vote is to make sure that you’ve registered to vote before the cut-off date, which varies from state to state.

If you won’t be in town, you can cast your vote via an absentee ballot, which is often referred to as mail-in voting. (Note: some states will let you vote by mail even if you will be in town.) VOTE411.org has all the information you need to know about how to get registered and request an absentee ballot in your state. Be extra careful to note the deadline, since absentee ballots often have a due date before the actual election, and the United States Postal Service is likely to get overburdened as Election Day gets closer. Check out Teen Vogue‘s explainer on voting by mail if you want to learn more about the pros and cons of going this route.

Learn more about the candidates and referendums.

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Some people may want to vote — but don’t know who to vote for. You can check out voter guides related to your state, as well from organizations that are offering comprehensive information on which candidate is running for which office in your state. Plus, there’s Ballot Ready for learning about the issues candidates stand against or in favor of.

Actually showing up to vote…

Most states will send you a voter card to confirm that you are registered. This piece of mail will likely include your designated polling place. If it doesn’t have that information or you misplaced your card, you can look it up online. Here’s an easy tool that will point you in the right direction. You won’t need to bring your voter card with you, but your state may require a valid photo ID.

Most polling places open between 6 and 9 a.m. and stay open until around 7 to 9 p.m., but double check with yours just to make sure (this will probably be listed online or via your local news media). Show up in the morning if possible to beat the crowds. Many states hold early voting periods in the lead-up to Election Day, which are a great way to avoid long lines and ensure your ballot is counted.

What should you expect at the polling station?

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If you’re curious to know what it is like to be at a polling station, just search for “voting machines” along with your state’s name on Google. This should give you ample material on the equipment at the station and how you’re expected to use it. If you don’t have the time, you can simply ask a poll worker who should help you navigate the station

Can you vote early?

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The option to vote early ends a few days before the Election Day, depending on your state. So head on over here to find out if you can vote early.

Can you leave work or school to vote?

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If you work or need to attend classes, you should tell your management or administration about your plans so you can take time off. Find out your state’s laws about leaving work early to vote.

Can you take a selfie to show off your pride in democracy?

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You may also be tempted to take a selfie with your ballot to share your experience on social media. However, make sure to be careful of your state’s laws when it comes to taking photos at a polling station. According to USA Today, some states strictly forbid taking photos, although many states still have unclear guidelines. If you are unsure of what your state allows, it’s probably a safer bet to not post that selfie.

What should you do if you feel like your rights were violated?

In the event that you suspect your voting rights were violated (for example, if you think your voter registration was removed or you were turned away from a polling station for a suspicious reason) contact the number for ACLU’s Election Protection: (866) 687-8683. The website provides detailed information for contacting officials in your own state.

What should you do if there are intimidating political groups or others protesting outside your polling place?

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Nearly every state in America prohibits people from political campaigning within 100 feet of the voting station. If you are aggressively accosted by someone attempting to persuade or dissuade your voting choice, alert a polling official.

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Georgia Delivers Control Of Congress To Democrats Thanks To This Incredible Coalition Of Voters

Things That Matter

Georgia Delivers Control Of Congress To Democrats Thanks To This Incredible Coalition Of Voters

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

In what seems like the never ending 2020 election cycle, we can finally say that the votes are in. And the results out of Georgia are truly worth celebrating as a diverse coalition of Georgian voters helped deliver both U.S. senate seats to Democrats.

Thanks to a well organized voting apparatus, a record-breaking number of voters hit the polls and helped elect the state’s first Black senator along with the youngest senator in nearly sixty years.

The results out of Georgia help put the Senate under control of the Democrats, handing President-Elect Joe Biden a major tool in helping to implement a progressive agenda once he is inaugurated on January 20.

Georgia elects two Democrats to the U.S. Senate with history-making votes.

Democrats have swept both seats in Georgia’s critical runoff elections, giving the party control of the Senate and removing a major roadblock for President-elect Joe Biden.

Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue in Tuesday’s election, while networks had earlier called Georgia’s other race for Democrat Raphael Warnock over GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

The results are a rebuke of President Donald Trump, whose supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to try to stop Congress from counting the Electoral College results.

The Senate will now be split 50-50, but Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be able to cast tie-breaking votes, putting Democrats in charge of the legislative agenda, committee chairmanships and Congress’ confirmation and investigative powers.

Black and Latino voters deserve recognition for their hard work in making this possible.

Senator-Elect Warnock is the pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s former church in Atlanta. He will be the first Black senator from Georgia and only the 11th Black senator in American history. He won, in part, thanks to astronomical Black turnout.

Many are praising the work of Stacey Abrams and groups like Mijente, who helped register a record-breaking number of new voters. In fact, Mijente helped knock on the doors or call every single Latino resident in the state of Georgia to help get out the vote.

Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams – who had already done so much work in helping turn Georgia blue for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in November – continued her trailblazing mission in the state. Her organization, Fair Fight 2020, helped register more voters than ever before and helped make sure they understood their rights and responsibilities as a voter.

Joe Biden will now have full control of government.

Biden will now enter the White House on Jan. 20 with his party in control of both chambers of Congress, allowing him to confirm his Cabinet and judicial nominees and giving him and a chance to advance his legislative agenda, which would have gone nowhere as long as Sen. Mitch McConnell remained in charge.

Biden and Senate Democratic leaders agree their top priority will be a new round of Covid-19 relief, especially after the president-elect promised Georgia voters this week that $2,000 stimulus checks would “go out the door immediately” if Democrats won the Senate.

Many in the community are hopeful that with control of both the Senate and House, Biden will be able to push through comprehensive immigration reform and undo many of the cruel and inhumane policies put into place by the Trump administration. However, given the legislative filibuster remains in place (requiring a two thirds majority), many question just how much will be accomplished.

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They Helped Get Out The Vote In November, Now These Atlanta Strippers Are Focused On The Georgia Senate Races

Things That Matter

They Helped Get Out The Vote In November, Now These Atlanta Strippers Are Focused On The Georgia Senate Races

Get Your Booty To The Poll / Facebook

For those of you who thought the 2020 election was behind us, well hold on to your seats because what just may be the most consequential election ever is about to take place in Georgia.

And thanks to a team of dancers from Atlanta, we won’t soon forget just how important the upcoming special election is.

A team of female dancers are focused on turning out the vote for Georgia’s upcoming dual senate run offs.

In the days following this year’s presidential election, Georgia went blue (voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris) for the first time since 1992. And the state saw record turnout, especially among Black and Brown voters. Much of this success is attributed to Stacey Abrams and other activists who helped register a record number of new voters.

Part of the success should also be given to a group of Atlanta strippers and dancers who made a viral get-out-the-vote ad aimed at persuading Black men to go to the polls. But with Georgia’s Senate races facing a runoff vote, the women say the work is far from done, and they are calling on young people to turn out once more.

These Atlanta dancers are hoping to reach an often overlooked electorate: Black men.

Of men age 18-34, African Americans had the lowest turnout among any listed racial group of men during the 2016 presidential election in Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties, according to an analysis of the data. Men who identified as Native American had the lowest turnout for Gwinnett, and were followed by Black males.

In Fulton, 29 percent of registered young Black men voted in the 2016 presidential election. Compare that to 45 percent of young Hispanic and 52 percent of young White men in Fulton.

Barnes said she wanted to connect with those Black men who feel voting and its outcomes aren’t for them. And having grown up in the metro area, she knows strip clubs are a big part of the culture — including its massive influence on hip-hop.

Original Story published October 17, 2020:

These are wild times, y’all. We are facing the election of our lifetime and on the line is the rights of millions and the dignity of our nation. This means that everyone is getting mobilized and active to make sure that voters come out in full force on Nov. 3. One ad is catching everyone’s attention.

Get Your Booty To The Poll is using pole dancing to get people to do their duty and vote.

Director Angela Barnes wanted to do something that would catch everyone’s attention during the pandemic and to remind them to vote. Her idea was to get some of the best exotic dancers from Atlanta’s best gentlemen’s clubs to do a PSA about voting. After all, we have all been told several times that “sex sells.”

The ad is getting people talking.

Some people are excited to see the ad targeting a specific group of people to vote. Others are offended that women are being objected in order to make the PSA. However, one this is for sure, the 3.4 million viewers on the tweet shows that the ad is getting everyone’s attention.

The Barnes wanted to target Black southern men, specifically in Georgia.

I wrote and directed a PSA enlisting Atlanta's finest pole dancers to encourage Black voters, specifically Black male…

Posted by Angela Barnes on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

According to her Facebook post, the video is intended to make sure that Black men in the south go out and vote. One key element in the video that the director points out is the use of ballots as dollar bills on the stage. That’s right. The cast and crew used ballots in place of dollar bills to really sell the idea of getting out to the polls to vote.

Some people are not convinced that the people who are mad are really mad.

It is a very creative way to get people’s attention, especially for voting. There are voting PSAs from almost every organization targeting almost every community. This one is clearly designed with specific people in mind and it seems to be doing its job. This is the viral content voting PSAs wish to be, tbh.

Barnes and the dancers are definitely doing their part to remind you to vote so do your part and get to the polls to vote (or vote by mail-in ballot).

The U.S. is facing a tough and very important election. The Trump administration is fighting to secure another term while Democrats are doing everything in their power to stop them. Communities of color have been the target of some of the administration’s most hateful and damaging legislation.

Get ready to vote. Register your friends. Bring them to the polls. The general election is on Nov. 3 and it is up to all of us to vote to see the policies we want.

READ: As Trump Does All He Can To Sabotage Mail-In Voting, He And Melania Request Mail-In Ballots

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