Getting Ready to Vote

By Kelly Leslie, Student at San Francisco State University

Fall is finally here, and it’s definitely my favorite time of the year. Changing leaves, coats, scarves, and boots, everything about the season is beautiful (and stylish, too!), but this year is different. Although I still obsess about pumpkin everything and have already bought all kinds of decorations for my apartment, there is a very large "something else" on my mind.

In case you haven’t noticed the fall color scheme change to red, white and blue … it’s time for the 2012 presidential election! This is the first time many of us will be able to express our political ideals in an election that only happens every four years. While knee-high boots and infinity scarves are still in style, nothing screams confident more than a chicster who is ready to vote. Will you be prepared come November?

The first step when getting ready to vote is deciding what you are going to vote for. Of course, many of you already know which presidential candidate you would like to take office, but that is not all there is to it.

Nicole Kriz, a senior at San Francisco State University, says it’s equally important to understand the major propositions on the ballot.

"Read all the facts and know what you’re voting for," Kriz said. "A lot of people go in and don’t know exactly what [propositions] represent what and don’t even understand what they are voting for."

Getting involved in a political club on campus is a great way to do this. Most schools have College Republicans and College Democrats clubs, which are not selective about their members and welcome anyone who is looking for information about the elections.

Can’t find a club? Find out if your student government is putting on any events to promote the elections. This could be anything from a voter registration drive to a presidential debate party. Keep your eyes and ears open!

The next step is registering to vote. This is extremely important! If you don’t register, you won’t be able to vote. While this is an easy task, it always causes confusion for students who have never done it, says Michael Guadamuz, president of the San Francisco State University College Democrats.

"Most students don’t know if they should register at their school address, or their parents' house," Guadamuz said.

Guadamuz recommends students to register with their school address so that they can vote at the campus polling place, if this is an option. It is OK to register at your parent’s house if your campus does not offer a place to vote, but Guadamuz says you must "remember to check the vote-by-mail ballot on your registration form."

Not sure how to register? Head over to and get started! It will only take two minutes of your time and doesn’t cost anything. You may have to mail in the finished registration form depending on your state, but many states, including California, now offer online registration. If you do have to mail in your registration form, all you have to do is print the form, tape it closed and place a stamp in the designated space.

To see a list of states that accept student IDs to vote, click here.

It’s literally as easy as one, two, three … just make sure to do it before the deadline! Happy voting!

Image courtesy of taoty /

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