On one of the tightest elections in American history, and one that will impact the world substantially, we are of the privileged few on the planet who can participate. It is not something we can afford to take lightly. This is why we must ensure that we take part in it and do the best we can to safeguard the process. Here are 6 ways to do this:
As mentioned above, if you can vote, you are in the unique and powerful position to select not only the leader of the nation, but the person who will head the planet's most politically and economically influential society. Don't abuse this right, don't shirk your duty: vote and vote as soon as possible.
2. Report any problems by calling 866-OUR-VOTE
Given our recent history, there have been problems with voting irregularity and abuse, whether that's issues with voting machines or denying voting rights to certain individuals. If you experience or witness these kinds of issues, don't be silent. Report them immediately by calling 866-OUR-VOTE, which is a hotline set up to collect information about problems on election day. Lawyers and election protection advocates will help answer your concerns.
3. Call friends and encourage them to vote
Call friends who have not yet voted and encourage them to do so as soon as possible. Make sure they have all the information they need like the time and place to fulfill this duty to their country (check out http://govote.org/ for this info). In this age of speedy text messaging, hearing a friend's voice on the phone, even if it's just a message, offers a human touch.
4. Email friends to tell them you've voted
Take advantage of technology's ability to spread information about your every micro-move by informing family and friends via text messaging, Facebook and any other venue you can think of that you've voted. This will encourage others to do the same if they already haven't.
5. Research, research, research
While Obama and McCain are now household names, those of candidates for other seats like the ones for Senate, Congress and other positions are not. Remember that when you go to your polling station, you will be voting for these as well. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the candidates so you can make the best choice. In Chicago, the website www.greaterchicago.org offers some guidance, as may your city's local bar association or other groups. A quick online search will help you be a more informed voter.
6. Fill out a survey about how you voted
Journalists and pollsters are always anxious to find out who voted how, whether that's Catholics, Protestants, Black Baptists or White evangelicals, conservative or liberal Jews. However, Muslims are rarely shown as much level of interest on election day. Help us tabulate this critical information by filling out our Exit Poll at: http://MuslimVotersUSA.surveyconsole.com
Photo Attribution: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/VA_Election_Day_%288161474736%29.jpg