Even though elections happen only once or twice a year, I can't tell you how many times I hear that people don't vote because they don't have time. True, it's inconvenient that election day lands in the middle of a busy workweek, but even the most harried of us can find time to drop in and make our political opinions heard. If you're struggling to make time this Nov. 6, here are a few ideas on how to fit voting into your week.
Sign up for an absentee ballot. Contact your state's department of elections as soon as possible and sign up to receive an absentee ballot. Ballots arrive in the mail a few weeks early, so you have plenty of time to research, vote, and send in your choices.
Exercise your right to vote. Depending on the state, polls open at 6 or 7 a.m., so why not stop by your neighborhood polling station during your morning jog? Don't forget to bring a valid ID.
Give your vote a jolt. If you're accustomed to a midmorning coffee break with your co-workers, encourage them to tolerate the office sludge for one day and take a group outing to the polls. Or bring your team some morning treats to reward them (and yourself) for voting before work!
Sandwich voting into your day. Just because you're performing your civic duty doesn't mean you should forgo other important responsibilities — like eating. On election day, pack your lunch (make sure it's something portable) and munch on it while you're standing in line to vote.
Make a date with a candidate. Hook up with your best friend or a significant other for dinner-and-a-vote. Most polling places don't close until 8 p.m. on election day, which gives you time to grab a bite beforehand and still make it before the polls close.
Find out how flexible you are. If you can't sneak in a trip to the polls during the day, ask your manager well in advance if she can be flexible about your morning or evening schedule so you can work in some extra voting time before or after work. By asking in advance, you can arrange with your boss and co-workers to provide air cover while you are out, and you demonstrate to your superiors that you take these matters — and your job — seriously.
Still need to bone up on some important election vocabulary? Here are 10 terms you should know before you mark your ballot.