Nov. 8 – Election Day – is fast approaching, and candidates and their messages seem to be everywhere you look. The registration deadline of Oct. 8 is fast approaching, too.
So are you planning to vote? While casting a ballot on Election Day might seem to be a no-brainer, there are several myths about being a voter that keep people away from the polls on Election Day.
Here are some common myths, and why they’re just not true:
1. “It’s too complicated to register.”
This is the easiest myth to destroy. “Just visit scvotes.org to print off a registration form or complete your registration online,” says Cynthia Holland, executive director of the Aiken County Board of Voter Registration and Elections Commission. When you register, you’ll need to provide some form of identification. You can bring a photo ID (like a driver’s license), copy of a utility bill, pay stub, bank statement, or any government document with your name and address. If you’re not able provide one of these items when you register, you’ll need to remember to bring some identification with you when you vote. (Voters 65 and older, voters with disabilities and service members are exempt from this requirement.) You can fax, mail or email a scanned copy of a completed application, or visit the Aiken County office to register in person. In other words, registering to vote is simple as can be.
2. “My vote won’t make a difference.”
Holland points to an election earlier this year to indicate how untrue this myth can be. When Democrats and Republicans selected their party’s candidates this spring, only 7.1% of registered voters turned out to cast ballots in the runoff election for the Republican candidate for State House District 81. Because turnout was so low, “that one candidate won by only 33 votes,” Holland says. If you’d wanted, you and 33 of your friends could have swung the election the other way.
3. “It doesn’t matter who’s elected. Nothing will change.”
“You need to be able to say, ‘I voted for you,’” Holland says. By casting a vote for a particular candidate, you’re able to call that candidate up and make your voice heard. It’s actually pretty easy: The election board can get you in touch with them. “By calling the commission, you can receive contact information for any candidates or officeholders,” Holland explains. Contact information for every elected official is also available on the state election commission website under “Candidate Tracking.”
Just keep one thing in mind: There’s a deadline to register in South Carolina. The last day to register is Oct. 8. You can’t just show up on Election Day.
“Do you really want to be that person who didn’t vote?” Holland says. “If you wait until the last minute to register, you won’t be able to vote on Election Day. You need to register now.”
Also, be sure your address is up to date. An incorrect address could mean that voter would need to visit the voter registration office to change their address on election day or be directed back to their old precinct to vote a provisional ballot.
The Aiken County Board of Voter Registration and Elections Commission can provide you with all the information that you need to register or update your registration. Voter registration can be updated online at http://scvotes.org, or you can download a form to mail in yourself. (The form must be postmarked by Oct. 8 in order to vote on Election Day.) You can also contact the voter registration board with any questions at (803) 642-2028 or email@example.com.
And on Nov. 8, don’t forget to vote.