Exercise…your rights!


A monumental day approaches! For most of the year, this blog is about health and wellness, but this week, the excitement of living in a battleground state is running to high to ignore. So, today, instead of chatting about healthy behaviors, we’re going to talk about healthy voting habits.

For most of you, this will be the first general election that you’ll be taking part in, and research shows that initial voting behaviors may set up a lifetime of healthy voting habits1, so let’s make this one count.

If you’re a first-time voter, you may have to show proof of residence. If you’re interested in learning more about what types of ID or documentation can be used, this NC State Board of Elections website is here to help you out.

This election is about a lot more than presidential candidates though, and if you’re looking to inform yourself about the people you would be voting for, the NC Voter Guide (brought to you by the North Carolina Center for Voter Education) is a good start. This is one of those instances in life when it’s totally fine to bring in a homemade “cheat sheet” into the voting booth with you.

But don’t stop there: UNC also provides a whole range of resources that allow you to watch the debates, get poll results, read election news and candidate profiles. It’s all HERE, thanks UNC Libraries!

Finally, here are some pro-tips to keeping your election stress-free and for setting up those aforementioned life-long healthy, happy voting habits:

  1. Know your polling place. As of October 12th, you’ll have to vote where you’re registered. Not sure where you’re registered? Click HERE. This next part is important: All polling locations are open from 6:30am-7:30pm. 
  2. Make a plan. Defeat that voting inertia with best-laid plans for when, with whom, transport, who you’ll be voting for, etc.!
  3. Bring a friend. This isn’t about science, this is just for fun. Isn’t everything more fun with a buddy?
  4. Document the moment. Take those silly pictures in the (no doubt, very short) line with your voting buddy! It’s a big moment, especially if you’re a first-timer. You can put snaps on Facebook, Twitter, or in your holiday newsletter.
  5. Spread the word. Wear your ‘I voted’ sticker proudly! You’re all about civic engagement and you don’t care who knows.

One last thing! First-time voters want to know:

What the heck is the deal with the Straight-Ticket/Party Voting?

The name implies this a little bit, but straight-ticket/party voting is when you vote for members of the same party for a variety of positions. The NC ballot has a straight-ticket option on it, and you can select it if you are planning on voting for all candidates of the same party.

As with all things in life, this one comes with a word of warning!  If you select the straight-ticket option, you will still need to check the box for your presidential candidate choice AND vote for judges (don’t forget to turn over your ballot!).

REFERENCES

  1. Plutzer, Eric. “Becoming a habitual voter: Inertia, resources, and growth in young adulthood.” American political science review 96.1 (2002): 41-56.

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