By Sarah Meklir
Source: WPRG 2020 Voter Guide
HEY SENIORS! Voting is a fundamental responsibility to uphold our democracy. The Hammond community can play a huge role in both voter participation and the education of voters. Here’s what you need to know to vote this November.
Mark your calendars, Voting Day is November 3.
Potential voters need to be registered before they can cast a ballot. You can register in person while early voting or on November 3rd at your local voting location.
There are two ways to vote in Maryland: in-person or by mail.
Voting in person:
You can vote as soon as October 26th in Maryland with early voting. Voting takes place at early voting centers from October 26 to November 2. You can find an Early Voting Center here.
To vote on November 3, go to your local Election Day Voting Center. They will be open from 7am to 8pm. Here’s a link to find your local voting center.
Only a small portion of Hammond’s senior class will be old enough to vote in the 2020 presidential election.
Mail-in and absentee voting steps:
- Request an absentee ballot. All registered voters were mailed forms to request a mail-in ballot. You can also fill it out online, here. October 20 is the deadline for ballot requests.
- Fill out your ballot. To make sure it’s counted, follow the directions on the ballot to select your candidate and validate your form. Do not tear or leave stray marks on the ballot.
- Seal the ballot according to its accompanying instructions, add postage, and mail it back through the approved drop-box system for your area. You can use this resource to find your Maryland ballot drop-box.
- Make sure to send your ballot as soon as possible to ensure your vote is counted. When your vote is received, you will receive a success message through your preferred method of communication (likely email). View this Washington Post article for more resources and tips to make sure your vote counts.
The Bear Press spoke with teachers to gain insight on the election from people in the Hammond Community with some prior voting experience. Here’s the interview:
Bear Press (BP): “Do you believe voting is essential? Why or why not?”
Ms. Lovaas, US History:
“Voting is absolutely essential and one the best actions we can take as involved citizens! Voting allows us to shape not only our federal government, but our local communities as well. Many people have fought to give us this right, and voting is the best way to honor that.” This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, and as a woman, I admire and appreciate all those who made that happen for me, and I cast my ballot in their honor.”
Ms. Barlow, World History:
“Yes, I mean that’s one of the main principles of our democracy. [It’s how] people participate in the government. All people have to participate, because ours is the government of the people, and that’s how we show our voices.”
BP: What is your voting plan for the 2020 election?
“I will be voting in-person, during early voting. That occurs the week before Election Day. I hope to beat some of the crowds and be able to socially distance better since it will be early.”
“I’m going to go in person, for early voting. Hopefully there will not be a lot of people in that time, with the early voting. From what I’ve heard for the state of Maryland, they have made accommodations for people who come early and they’ve got all the protocol in place. Everyone received an application to get a mail-in ballot, but I’m not going to do that. I was nervous about the mail-in voting, so this way I can be sure my vote will be counted.”
BP: What was the first election you voted in?
“I turned 18 the year of the presidential 2008 election, which was Barack Obama vs. John McCain. That was my first election.”
“It was in the 1970s, I think it might have been ‘72. There were quite a few presidential elections I voted in where I never voted for a winner. Finally, the person I voted for won an election, but it took a number of years. It doesn’t matter [who you’re voting for]; you still have to vote even if you know you’re in the minority.”
BP: Do you vote in midterm elections?
“Absolutely! I wish more people got excited about them or that they received as much press as presidential elections. There are always important seats to fill and issues on the ballot that need more voter participation!”
BP: How are you helping your students understand the importance of voting and the logistics this year?
“As a history teacher, elections are a huge part of our curriculum and conversations. For my students this semester, none of them are of age to vote. However, I am encouraged to see their interest in the election news, which makes me hopeful for their voter participation when they are eligible.”