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Ensuring Voters Have the Tools They Need to Cast Their Ballots

When the 2012 Presidential Election season approached, excitement rushed through me. For the first time in my life, I was eligible to participate in a presidential election. I’d previously voted in local and midterm elections, but the presidential election felt like the ‘real deal’.

As a student in the Nation's Capital, that excitement was heightened due to living in a city with so many opportunities to become politically engage beyond voting. Several voter registrations and voter education events were held on my campus. Before attending a voter registration event in the school eatery, I had no idea that I was able to vote using an absentee ballot. Delighted, I registered to receive my ballot from my home state of Texas.

I chose to become even more engaged in the political process through canvassing. I even traveled with several other college students to swings states to reach voters leading up to the 2012 general election. For me, the experience of canvassing in Virginia Beach as Hurricane Sandy made landfall increased my dedication to and excitement for voting.

As election day approached, I grew anxious because my absentee ballot had not yet arrived. Sadly, my ballot never came and I was unable to participate in the election that I highly anticipated and canvased for. Initially, I felt ashamed that I was unable to vote until I learned that several of my peers shared a similar experience.

Reflecting on that experience as the 2018 midterm elections approach, I am grateful that I am more informed about additional resources—like VOTE411.org—that help voters find the information they need. This year, I was able to use this site to confirm that I am in fact registered to vote this cycle.

I don’t want other voters to face the same disappointment I felt in 2012. Getting registered and checking your registration is the first step to being able to participate in the democratic process.

I know my vote will count this year because I plan to vote early, but not everyone has that opportunity. That’s why I’m telling all of my friends and family to check their registration NOW. Find all the information you need now at VOTE411.org. You don’t want to show up at the polls and find out that you can’t participate. This election is too important to miss out.