If you happen to find yourself in one of the 24 states that will be holding their primaries or caucuses this Tuesday, we here at Civic Alert would like to remind you to vote. Even if you live in a state where your candidate holds a commanding lead, say Illinois, it’s important to still get out there and exercise your right to be heard. This isn’t the general election. If a candidate “wins” a state, he or she doesn’t automatically gain all the delegates for that state. For example, if Obama wins Illinois by 60%, he’ll win 60% of the delegates. If he wins by 70%, he’ll get 70% of the delegates. For this reason, every vote still matters. Even if it’s just pushing your candidate’s victory from decisive to, well, really decisive, it’s going to award him or her more delegates. With the latest polls showing neck-and-neck races between Hillary and Obama in almost all of the states, every delegate is going to matter.
Also, do yourself a favor and check out your state’s rules for voting. Voting rules, times, locations and processes will vary by state. For example, some states like Minnesota don’t require you to be registered or even 18 years of age (as long as you’ll be 18 in November). Other states like Illinois require you to be a registered voter. Voting times will also vary by state. The polls in New Mexico will be open for seven hours, while in Minnesota they’ll only be open for an hour and a half. Finally, figure out your caucus or primary location. Usually these are in public buildings that should be relatively close. Many towns use schools or fire departments. Don’t wait until Tuesday to figure these details out.
Finally, make voting fun. If you’ve read any of our liveblogs, you know elections don’t have to be taken so seriously. Prepare yourself for potentially long lines by bringing friends with you. Carpool or caravan to your local polling place and make a night out of it! I know several groups of people who are planning Super Tuesday parties where a large group of friends is going out to dinner before traveling to their polling place together. Democracy can fun, so make your voice heard and have a good time in the process.
Oh, and then rush home to read our liveblog of the results.