I've been a poll worker for over a decade. From my perspective, my number one job is to protect your right to vote. But over those years, I've come to realize voting is as much a responsibility as it is a right. So as we lead up to this historic election, I present my three simple steps to responsible voting.
1) Make sure that you are registered. If you have moved or changed you name since you last voted, you need to re-register. Did you have a problem signing in the last time you voted? Was there a question about a vote by mail ballot? Call you country elections office or verify your status online. The deadline to register is October 24.
2) Know your polling place. Polling places move. Precinct boundaries can change. You may not be voting at the same location you did last time. So, keep an eye out for your sample ballot. This 8 and 1/2 by 11 booklet should arrive about three weeks before the election. If you don't get it double check your voter registration status. On the back, near your address, your polling place will be listed. Make sure you know where you are going.
3) Know how you are going to vote. In addition to President, U.S. House and Senate, there are 17 different ballot measures in California, plus local issues. Standing in the polling booth is not the time to decide who or what to vote for. Use that sample ballot to decide how you're going to vote. That way when you enter the ballot booth you can simply copy your answers and complete voting in a couple of minutes. While looking at your sample ballot, also take minute to read the instructions for your paper ballots or voting machines. For example, most paper ballots require completely filling in a box, not a check or X.
Finally don't be afraid to ask questions. The precinct staff is there to help. We take our responsibility to you seriously. Please take your responsibility as a voter seriously and come to vote prepared.