First time voter? Here’s what you need to know!

First time voter? Here’s what you need to know!

Graphic from ACLU

Your right to vote is your voice! So, why is it important to exercise your right?

You believe in having the right to vote, but are unsure as to whether it will make a difference. A question many young voters tend to ask is “should I vote or not?” Although the quote “voting is your civic duty” is frequently tossed around during an election year, many start to doubt how their vote will affect the outcome. As a result, young voters default to the mindset of “my vote isn’t going to matter, therefore, I won’t vote”.

This is simply not correct. So, to answer the question on whether or not you should vote, the answer is YES. If you want better healthcare, social justice, education and childcare, better roads and transport, and better local amenities you need to vote because the national and local governments run all these services.

Your vote will send a message to the government about what you want and expect.

By voting in elections you can support a candidate who will represent your views, and it can influence the policy issues you care about. Here are some more reasons as to why you should vote:

  • Voting is the most important way to make your voice heard on the issues that concern you.
  • Voting gives you an opportunity to be part of decision-making that affects your life.
  • If YOU don’t vote, others will make the decisions for YOU!
  • Decisions are made on your behalf everyday from healthcare, education, housing, global issues like defense and environment, and local issues.

Research, research, research!

It is now easier than ever to be an informed voter. Everything is at our finger tips! Your vote is your own and should not be swayed by family, friends, or employers. Take the time to research each candidate and party on the ballot before Election Day. You can find candidate guides, district maps, various forms and petitions, and much more by visiting

Illustration by JELER/ADOBE STOCK

If this is your first year voting in Ohio here are some things to remember:

  • Remember to register to vote! You can find more information on how to do so here.
  • Not sure if you’re registered? You can double check here.
  • Look up where your polling location is before voting. You can find out here.
  • Bring a valid I.D. with your current address and photo when you go to vote. For more information on Voter ID Requirements click here.
  • You have voting rights. If you need an interpreter or need special accommodations, you have a right to them. Visit Disability Rights Ohio, ACLU Ohio,, or the Ohio Secretary of State website for more details.

Remember: while the legal voting age in the U.S. is 18, voter registration and pre-registration rules and ages are different in every state. In Ohio, if you’re 17 and will be 18 on or before the general election, you can register to vote. For more details on voter registration age requirements visit

Graphic from ACLU

Ohio’s voter registration deadline for the general election is October 5, 2020.

Every state – except North Dakota – requires citizens to register if they want to become voters. Registration deadline could be as much as a month before an election. 

Ohio’s voter registration deadline for the general election is October 5, 2020. If you are of age, make sure you are registered to vote! You can also check the state or territory’s election office for more details. 

Voting is an important part of democracy. It is a right that generations of Americans have struggled to win. You have the power to decide on the quality of life you want for yourself and future generations. Don’t let your voice go unheard! Every vote counts.

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