By Kelsey Corley
2020 arrived liked any other new year, full of promise and possibility. This year presents something unique: this year we are greeted with our recurring opportunity and democratic obligation of deciding the course of our country for the next four years. The first step to any of this, however, is understanding the voting process.
There are few requirements that must be met in order to be able to cast your vote. An eligible voter is simply a citizen of the US who is 18 years of age or older on the date of the election (not necessarily on the date of registration) and who has never been convicted of a felony. Tennessee and Virginia, along with 37 other states and DC, allows for easy online voter registration. Accessible and efficient, the online form takes less than five minutes to fill out and send in. Official registration applications can also be downloaded or picked up at places such as your county clerk’s office, public libraries, or Register of Deeds offices and sent by mail to the county election commission.
It is not required to re-register if you have voted in previous recent elections, though if have moved, changed names, or have not voted for the past four years it may be necessary to renew your registration. You can also check the status of your registration online HERE. The current deadline for voter registration for primary voting in Tennessee is Feb 3, 30 days before the election, and in Virginia it is Feb 10.
Early in-person voting is set to begin on February 12 and end February 27, five days before the official election. Polling places and times will vary by county. As an out-of-state student you can apply for an absentee ballot, which will allow you to cast your vote when you cannot vote from your local polling place of your permanent residence, online HERE. Applications for an absentee ballot and ballot due dates will vary by state, and you can check the dates for you state online as well.
Voting is not only our fundamental right as citizens, but also our civic duty.
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