Plan to vote now

I made my voting plan tonight. Well, actually Ann did, but I did some of the thinking part! We can’t help each other too much, or too soon, and the time to do it is now.

Online Tools

There are a plethora of websites out there purporting to help us through the voting process. I’m partial to the Outdoor State, my Mom to, and there are countless others. But hold on. Making a plan to vote is hugely important, but so is our privacy. How do we know what these sites will do with our personal information? I’m sure most of them are earnest and honest, but there’s just no easy way to know, and I want to break the habit of typing my details into every website that catches my fancy.

Ann did it a better way, which I endorse.

Search and Verify

The website you want is your county or state election official site. Search results can turn up fakes, hopefully rarely, but with a little discrimination you can get some quick assurances. Here’s my search:

The top two results are indeed the site I’m looking for, but I also clicked around the next two websites for local media outlets that I recognize. They tend to link to the secretary of state voting site, but I found links to the county site too.

There are a few important points here:

  1. I got some kind of outside validation that I found the real site I was looking for.
  2. There are two real sites that will both work: one for the state and one for the county. Use the one that’s easiest to understand.
  3. I did not just click on a link from my social media feed and bare my soul.

Now dish up your data

The official sites may have fewer bells and whistles, but I’m comfortable using them to check my voter registration data and guide me through the next steps. I’m planning a trip and want an absentee ballot, which in Nevada is different than the mail-in ballot I would get by default. I need to request an absentee ballot from my county voter registrar using a form that I can mail or e-mail. (The state and county actually each have their own version of this form, but both include the same sending instructions.) I’ll try the email method, but I’m glad to have time to fix anything that might go wrong.

Share your plan

Now that I’ve told you about my plan, I feel more confident that I will follow through and not let apocalyptic smoke, pestilence, laziness, or distraction stand in my way. Others helped spur me to action, and we can all help inspire and guide each other.

2 responses to “Plan to vote now”

  1. Dylan, thanks for that good email. But my question: How is the automatic ballot and the absentee ballot different?

    • I can’t find a succinct description of the difference, but what I glean from Washoe county’s absentee voter information is that mail-in ballots are always sent to your voter registration address, while absentee ballots are sent to an alternate address that you specify. Also it looks like absentee ballots may be sent a little earlier, 40 days prior to election day versus “late September or early October” for mail-in ballots.

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