Every vote matters–especially in local elections. A single vote can determine if your beliefs and opinions get represented and if you have a voice in how things are managed in your area.
While many people may dismiss this idea without a second thought, it’s worth pausing for a second and thinking of when you might be in a jam and really need someone in authority to hear you out.
If fair and just living conditions are important to you, it’s essential that you vote in your community elections. In this post, you’ll get a step-by-step guide for voting and playing your role in building a responsible society.
Every election has eligibility requirements, and you may not be able to participate in all types of community elections.
For example, say you’re a renter in your county. You may be able to cast a vote in school board elections but not in your community association election, as the eligibility criteria for each election may be different.
In a school board election, you can cast a vote if:
For a community association election, however, you need to meet all three criteria above and own property in the community. After all, it doesn’t make sense for people who don’t own a home in a community to have a say in how it is run.
Some jurisdictions may also require voters to have a clean criminal record, be mentally competent, and be in alignment with local laws. Make sure to check the eligibility criteria of the specific election you are concerned about before you dive deeper into the voting process.
Educate yourself about the current status of your community and the profile of each candidate and/or issue. You can begin your research by identifying key problems and issues in your community that you observe personally and supplement this with relevant information from local news outlets, community forums, and government reports.
Once analyzed, evaluate each candidate’s experience and viewpoints on possible solutions to the issues at hand. Usually, their election campaign office will give this information to you.
It’s now time to become familiar with modern voting methods. Several voting methods are commonly used in community elections, including:
This traditional method requires you to cast your vote at a designated polling location on a specific day. To make the most of in-person voting, you should:
Absentee voting allows eligible voters to cast their ballots if they are unable to vote in person for a valid reason (e.g., travel, illness, or military service). Here’s what you need to do to participate in absentee voting:
Early voting allows you to cast a vote before the election day. You need to have a valid reason to do this.
To participate in early voting, reach out to your community association management and ask about the guidelines. They’ll explain the details about their early voting mechanism, eligibility criteria, locations, and schedules.
Online voting allows eligible voters to cast their ballots through a secure online platform such as the one offered by ElectionBuddy. More and more areas are exploring and implementing online voting. as a more convenient and accessible option.
To participate in online voting:
Lastly, register to vote, mark the election date on your calendar, and vote! Be sure to gather all necessary documents (such as your ID and registration confirmation) well in advance.
It is also a good idea to plan how you’ll get to the polling place. You want to arrange transportation ahead of time or explore alternative ways to participate to ensure you’re part of the percentage of people who vote in community elections!