Voting season can bring up a lot of stress and anxious thoughts. Some people may be unsure if they are qualified to vote. Some people may be unsure how or where to register or vote. Some people may be overwhelmed by all the campaign endorsements on the radio, television, social media apps, etc. If you have felt confused, unsure, overwhelmed, or frustrated during this election season, you are not alone! All of these are common stressors during election season and there are several ways to help manage and even reduce these stressors.
- Gather some basic knowledge and resources about registering and voting.
Election season can be a stressful experience but voting is a right granted to citizens and allows our voices to be heard. Knowing the requirements and the process can eliminate some of the stress. Below are some requirements, forms, and helpful resources for voting.
To vote in North Carolina:
- You must be a U.S. citizen.
- For information on U.S. citizenship visit: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/explore-my-options/proof-of-citizenship-for-us-citizens.
- You must live in the county you are registered to vote for at least 30 days prior to the general election date.
- You must be at least 18 years old by the general election date.
- However, you can preregister to vote at 17 years old and participate in the primary election if you will be 18 by the general election date.
- You cannot be serving a sentence for a felony conviction.
- This includes probation, parole, or post-release supervision.
- You may register and vote if you are “(1) serving an extended term of probation, post-release supervision, or parole, (2) you have outstanding fines, fees, or restitution, and (3) you do not know of another reason that your probation, post-release supervision, or parole was extended.”
- You cannot be registered or vote in a different county or state.
After you have determined you are qualified to vote you need to either 1) register or 2) check to see if you are already registered. To determine if you are already registered go to: https://www.nass.org/can-I-
In North Carolina, the voting registration deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, October 9th 2020. However, voters can complete same-day registration and voting at any one-stop early voting site in their county during the early voting period from October 15th to October 31st 2020. Locations for one-stop early voting can be found at: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/.
If you are worried about voting in person, due to COVID-19, there are other options available. You can vote by mail through an absentee ballot. To receive an absentee ballot, you must submit the request form by October 27th, 2020. Find the form at: https://www.ncsbe.gov/mailers/
- Reduce media consumption.
It is important to become educated on the presidential candidates and other elected officials. The November 3rd, 2020 ballot includes more than just the presidential candidates. In North Carolina, you will also be voting for a NC US Senate seat, an 8th District House seat, a NC Lieutenant Governor, a NC Governor, and a NC Attorney General. The same link used to determine if you are registered to vote also provides you with a sample ballot to review the candidates for various positions. Additionally, www.isidewith.com provides a survey to determine where your views align with various topics and candidates.
However, it is equally important to remember the information you receive, or read on your friend’s Facebook post, may not always be accurate. Therefore, media consumption can lead to unnecessary stressors in our everyday lives. Try to limit your time spent consuming media. Rather, research the candidates platforms and their stances directly from reliable sources.
- Avoid election discussions which create conflict and have no resolution.
Remain open to the political opinions of others and hear them out. In addition, feel free to provide others with your own political opinions. Challenging and thought provoking discussions can be insightful because they allow for a better understanding of various perspectives. However, stray away from discussions which lead to arguments, pointing fingers, and insults. In these scenarios, politely acknowledge the opinions of others and dismiss yourself from the conversation.
- Recognize that stress about the election is not productive.
Noticing your negative thoughts and challenging them will produce less stress and worry. If you notice yourself getting worked up about the election, take your mind elsewhere. Remember that no matter what happens after the election, you did your part by being knowledgeable and voting.
- Engage in self-care!
If you are unable to control your negative thoughts about the election, do something to promote your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. First, start by taking a couple deep breaths. Some popular ways to engage in self-care include going on a walk, calling a friend or family member, exercising, practicing a hobby, or volunteering in the community. These are just some of the many ways to initiate self-care and take away some of the stress and negative emotions associated with election season.