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Civic Engagement and Voting: About Voting

This guide shares resources and strategies for learning about socio political issues in order to vote or otherwise participate in civic discourse. It also details local resources for getting involved as well at UNLV and local events.

How to Vote

Browse the resources below to learn about why voting is important and how you can use it to affect your community. 

Why Vote?

"Understanding Voting Rights" - from rockthevote.org explains why the right to vote is important and why it is important to protect voting rights.

"9 Reasons We Need Young Voters More Than Ever" - from thebestcolleges.org gives nine reasons why young people need to vote.

"Why Should You Vote" - from aactnow.org outlines reasons why its important to vote including the fact that voting helps determine how your tax money will be spent.

Understanding how elections work is another important step in voting. Watch the short video below from Crash Course to get an overview of the election process.

The History of Voting

While in 2020 voting rights may seem like a given, it hasn't always been that way. From the inception of our country until the 1970s, the majority of people living in the United States had to fight for their voices to be heard. When the Constitution granted the right to vote, only white, generally wealthy, landowning men, equaling less than 6% of the population, were allowed voting rights. Over 100 years later in 1920, white women were given the right to vote, and it wasn't until 1965 that all people were able to vote, regardless of their race, ethnicity, education, or economic status. 

Even today, marginalized communities continue to battle against voter suppression in the fight for equality due to redlining and gerrymandering. Voting gives you the power to choose your leaders and engage with the issues you care about; something we should never take for granted. 

Interview with Congressman John Lewis - To hear more about the fight for voting equality, check out this interview with former Congressman John Lewis as he recalls the iconic march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. 

Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama, 1946. Library of Congress

Information for New Voters

Voting for the first time can be intimidating! Browse these resources to become more comfortable with voting. 

usa.gov created this video that outlines what you need to do before you vote for the first time. 

How to Vote in Nevada

The Nevada Secretary of State's Voters Website provides resources to help Nevada residents exercise their right to vote. Check out some of the resources below:

 Vote411.org - For personalized information about what is on the ballot in your area, your polling place, and upcoming events check out this site from the League of Women Voters.

Campusvoteproject.org - Provides students with information to help you get out and vote.

Bestcolleges.com - Provides information on how you can vote whether you are living in your home state or out of state.

Voting Guides and Ballot Lookups

Official Vote Nevada site                                                        

Ballotpedia: Nevada 2020- Nonpartisan "digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections."

BallotReady- Nonpartisan guide that allows you to enter your address and see the ballot for your districts and read about candidate positions.

Votesmart- Nonpartisan guide that includes voting records of incumbents. You can use this tool to help identify candidates whose positions match your own. 

Who's My Legislator/What's My District Tool- This tool allows you too look up your State Senate and State Assembly District and your current legislators.

 

Why it's Important for Students to Vote!

"Why Student Voters Matter"  - from campusvoteproject.org explains that college students/young adults have voted at historically lower rates than other groups, but have recently been voting at higher numbers and why that is important.

Campusvoterproject.org - also provides guides for how students can vote in each of the fifty states.

"Voting in College" - from bestcolleges.com provides answers to common questions college students may have about voting.

"Reasons Why You Should Vote as a College Student" - from Thoughtco.com lists a variety of reasons college students should vote including the fact that voting allows college students to voice their opinion on matters important to them.

Not Voting in Nevada? Register to Vote Here.

If you are not a resident of Nevada, these resources can help you register to vote, change your registration, or check your registration.

  • USA.Gov - The United States government has compiled a list with links that will take you the various states' website where you will be able to register to vote.
  • U.S. Election Assistance Commission - If you want to change your voter registration or change your party affiliation, check out this site!
  • U.S. Election Assistance Commission - You can also register to vote or update voter registration information by mail. To learn more about the process, check out this site!
  • USA.Gov Absentee and Early Voting - If you are a military, overseas, or absentee voter, check out this site for information about how to vote.

Absentee Voting

Voting by mail when you are unable to vote in person on Election Day. Voting using an absentee ballot requires that you request a form weeks before Election Day and the requirements to do so vary by state. Some reasons to vote by mail using an absentee ballot could be that you have work on Election Day, you need to vote in a state you aren't physically in, you have an illness or disability that makes it difficult to vote in person, or you may be serving in the military. 

Check out this great informative video from the Washoe County official website on how to complete your absentee ballot!

Percentage of Populaiton of Voting Age

This map from Social Explorer, a website that provides a variety of maps and data visualization tools,  allows you to explore the various percentage of the population that is of voting age for various states. Hover over each state to see what percentage of people in that state are of voting age.

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