NBC News' Kristen Dahlgren explains the importance of voting in political elections, and talks about the requirements and the various ways people can vote.
The Importance of Voting
KRISTEN DAHLGREN, anchor:
Voting in elections is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen.
When you vote, you choose someone who can represent you and your interests in the government. You can also vote on issues that are important to you. So if you want your road to be fixed, or a new school to be built, you can vote for these things. You can also vote for someone who shares those interests so they can act on your behalf to get them done.
Voting is like giving elected leaders a report card. If you like what they are doing, you can vote for them so they can continue representing you. If you don't, you can vote for someone else that you think may represent you better.
If you want to vote, you need to meet certain requirements:
You must be 18 years or older by Election Day.
You must be a citizen of the United States.
You have to meet the residency requirements of the state where you are voting.
Each state can also have additional rules. These could include how to register to vote, where to vote...even when you can vote. It's a good idea to contact your local election office before voting since no two states handle elections in the exact same way.
On Election Day, it's time to go to the polls to cast your vote!
Elections can happen many times throughout the year for many different reasons, like for primaries and initiatives, but most elections for national office take place on the first Tuesday of November.
While presidential elections use the Electoral College to decide the presidency, congressional elections use the direct votes from each state to decide. Whoever gets the most votes wins.
People often vote at a specific polling place or location, like a school, community center, or library.
Some states allow early voting over a period of time, which allows you to mail in your vote or drop it off at a designated location.
And if you know you can't make it to the polls on Election Day, you can vote absentee, which means sending in your vote in advance.
There still are many ways you can make your voice heard!
You can support your favorite candidates by going to rallies, speeches, or demonstrations.
Pay attention to issues and policies that affect you and what your elected representatives are doing about them. And if you agree or disagree with them, let them know.
When you cast your vote, you have your say. And don't forget to do it in every election. It gives you an opportunity to tell the government what to do, and what you believe in.