I need your help getting the word out regarding the US presidential elections

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 23, 2004

Update: The Voters Information Guide is finished. Thanks for all the help.

Alright folks, we’re going to do some of that collaborative citizen journalism you’ve heard so much about. I want to compile a short list of essential resources for people who need to register to vote, vote via absentee ballot, and, you know, vote normally. I’ve looked around at a few voter information sites and they are confusing, often too marketing-based, aren’t focused on presenting information clearly, or are too partisan/biased. I’m looking for the opposite: information, links, and resources that are clear, concise, nonpartisan, and above all, practical. The information is out there…it just needs to be presented properly.

Here are some areas I’d like to focus on:

- Deadlines and procedures for registering to vote. Is this list accurate? Is there a better source?

- Information for people voting via absentee ballots. How do they register? What are the registration deadlines? How do they get ballots? What are the procedures/deadlines for sending their ballots in?

- Information for overseas voters that may be affected by the Pentagon’s decision to restrict access to the “official Web site intended to help overseas absentee voters cast ballots”.

- Regular voters…how do they find out where they should vote? Is there a easy-to-use polling place locator?

- Information about groups of people being discouraged to vote. I’m thinking specifically of recent reports of minorities being discouraged to vote by threatening them with arrest at the polls for unpaid parking tickets and the like (it’s a partisan example, but this issue affects all involved parties and is damaging to the whole system). Is there practical information for educating people about these tactics and their rights? The article says “many people were wrongly turned away when they could not produce identification”…do you need ID when you vote?

- Electronic voting - Is there anything people need to know beyond that it’s gonna suck? Are there Flash interfaces online where people can practice their vote? Do people have the option to vote on paper in some states? (Practical voter info only…I don’t care about Diebold lawsuits or anything like that.)

- Any other important issues?

So send me your links and information (or leave it in the comments) and I will compile everything, distill it down to the essentials, and write up an article which will be released into the public domain so anyone can distribute it however they wish. There will also be a compilation of all the relevent information I’m sent for people who want to dig deeper.

I don’t really have the time to do this and neither do you probably, but this is important and if you’ve got the knowledge, please consider helping out. Thanks.

Reader comments

AaronSep 23, 2004 at 2:27PM

The list of registration deadlines might be inaccurate in at least one respect. In New Hamphsire, anyone who is eligible can register on election day at the polling place.

Dave WinerSep 23, 2004 at 2:30PM

This is a good idea. I registered by mail to vote in Washington, but haven’t received any kind of confirmation. The deadline is rapidly approaching. Should I register again? How can I find out if I’m registered?

RegalSep 23, 2004 at 2:33PM

The best political news site is Political Wire at http://politicalwire.com

An informed voter is better than someone who vote without knowing what’s going on.

RehanSep 23, 2004 at 2:39PM

Here’s an excellent site:


They have locations and other important information.

jkottkeSep 23, 2004 at 2:42PM

The best political news site is Political Wire at http://politicalwire.com

I don’t disagree that an informed voter is a good thing, but this site has nothing practical to offer to this discussion…it’s all news about polls and Bush/Kerry/Rove/Nader. I’m looking for information about voting only. Who people vote for when they cast their ballots is a concern for another day. Please, stay on topic.

TheronSep 23, 2004 at 2:43PM

I’ve found Activote to be a good general registration & absentee resource.

Ryan SchroederSep 23, 2004 at 2:47PM

Here’s a list of reg deadline in a different format. ( mostly xx days before the election)


They’ve also got a polling place locator:


Jack SouthworthSep 23, 2004 at 2:49PM

I liked President Match for helping understand the candidates.
Rock the Vote has a dumb name but has a state-by-state selector to help you register, see if you are eligible for an absentee ballot, etc.
Project Vote Smart also has the state-by-state selector. Select your state, and there is mucho info, including a link on the left to “Local Election Offices” that can narrow down who to call even further. Hope that helps.

GeofSep 23, 2004 at 2:49PM

Jason, something else to consider is voting methodology, including e-voting. I’m proud of the fact that Alabama has paper ballots that use OCR scanning—-the votes are counted electronically as they are cast, but there’s a paper backup in case of a problem or a question. I’m sure that there are other methods out there, but unfortunately for me, Alabama’s really the only state I’ve voted in.

Ryan SchroederSep 23, 2004 at 2:50PM

hmm, looks like the same service.
I wonder who Election Impact and http://www.votenet.com/ are?

JeniSep 23, 2004 at 2:50PM

I highly recommend Project Vote Smart (http://www.vote-smart.org). It’s probably one of the most complete political databases I’ve seen - everything from interest group ratings to campaign finances. Vote Smart is also non-partisan, which means it’s useful no matter which side of the fence you sit on.

ericSep 23, 2004 at 2:57PM

I’m not about to endorse MTV here, but their Rock the Vote program is an excellent resource for voter information. You can even request for a voter registration packet (i think that’s what they are, i’m already registered) to be sent to you.

Anyway, good non-partisan resource.

AdamSep 23, 2004 at 3:04PM

The registration deadline for Wisconsin is kind of wrong. To vote, you can register at your polling location up until polls close. All it takes is a piece of mail (something machine-printed with your name and current address like a bill or junk mail) and a driver’s license or state ID. If you decide to register by mail, the thing is correct.

David ElySep 23, 2004 at 3:13PM

I’m assuming every state has their own voter website with information (here’s VA’s). I agree that many are probably hard to use, but they’re probably also the best resources for official information.

Maybe we need a project to build a better info site that’s easy to navigate but wiki-style editable so that people can make sure the info stays up-to-date?

Restricting the topics would be key. The basic answers people would need are:

* How do I register to vote?
* Where do I go to vote?
* How can I absentee vote?

AndySep 23, 2004 at 3:18PM


Unfortunately, I don’t think you’re going to find a nation-wide resource for locating polling places.

Couple of reasons: first of all, our 50 state secretaries do not have any unified database for voter information. This is why they can’t track whether or not people are registered to vote in multiple states.

Second, polling place information is unstable. Redistricting happens continuously at a regional level, and within any given district polling places can be changed close to election day. As the availability of space and volunteers fluctuates, so too do the locations of polling places.

Chris HuffmanSep 23, 2004 at 3:20PM

As states vary so widely in procedure and the like, here are some links for my state, Indiana:

Indiana State Election Division Homepage
The Indiana Voter’s Bill of Rights - in English y en Español
The 2004 Indiana Voter Guide (pdf)
The Indiana Voter Registration Form (pdf)
The Indiana Voter Information Page - chock full of useful links such as an Indiana Absentee Ballot Form (pdf), Polling Place Accessibility (pdf), district maps, voting systems certified for use in Indiana and much more.

fluffySep 23, 2004 at 3:23PM

Although I recently moved to NYC, I’m still a registered voter for New Mexico (since I’m technically an NM resident still), which is great ‘coz an NM vote for NotBush/Edwards is worth WAY more than one in NY. I registered for absentee ballots as soon as I moved here but I have no idea if they received it (they just sent me a badly-xeroxed form which I promptly filled in and returned) and I also don’t know when I’m supposed to receive the materials by, since I’ve never done an absentee vote before. Is just under two months too early to start worrying?

Betsy DevineSep 23, 2004 at 3:31PM

The Democratic National Committee is helping US voters overseas register and get absentee ballots via this site: http://www.overseasvote2004.com/

It links to something called Election Impact that claims to help you get registered in any state: http://www.votenet.com/electionimpact/index.html

If you have friends overseas who are US citizens, they are entitled to register via whatever was their last US address, so spread the word if you have friends living abroad.

Thanks for doing this, Jason.

SaraSep 23, 2004 at 3:32PM

It’s important for people to keep their voter registration cards they should receive in the mail after registering. In Alaska and the District of Columbia (as is my experience), the cards indicate your assigned polling place. Also, the individual states’ Division of Elections sites are good starting points…although some are better maintained than others (which I think is very unfortunate).

kellySep 23, 2004 at 3:33PM

I’ve been checking www.electoral-vote.com almost daily. While it’s focus is on the latest poll results and how they affect electoral votes, the “votemaster” does a good job of discussing some of the same issues you’re bringing up — who’s not being counted, electronic voting, etc. He’s also got several resources listed for americans abroad.

sarahSep 23, 2004 at 3:43PM

Fluffy: My friend works on a political campaign in Abq NM. I, too, live in NY and am wondering what happened to my absentee application. I’ve asked my friend, and I’ll let you know if I learn anything.

Send me an email and I’ll get in touch.

sarahSep 23, 2004 at 3:44PM

Sorry, Fluffy: chlorinate@hotmail.com

donaldSep 23, 2004 at 3:45PM

I’m assuming you’ve seen the hideous declareyourself.com. I requested an absentee ballot there — they make it as easy as filling out a web form and then giving you a PDF to print out, complete with instructions for addressing the envelope. But oh god, oh god, is the design and layout hideous.

votergasm.org is an excellent (adult themed) site that has great little illustrated walkthroughs, if you haven’t seen it. Might not be what you’re looking for, but informative and humorous.

swingstatevoter.com is an excellent resource with step by step instructions — the caveat being that it is targeted at swing state reisdents voting absentee (particuarly college students).

overseasvote2004.com, likewise, is a great resource for anyone living overseas.

By the way, most of the big voter registration sites are powered by the Election Impact voter registration/absentee voting system.

This is a great idea, kottke, and one that is really needed (and with some urgency! Most voter registration deadlines are in the next couple weeks.) I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what you come up with, and would be interested in doing any print/web design help you need (or, of course, just appropriating the CC licensed text to my own flyers once you’ve released it).

Chris HuffmanSep 23, 2004 at 3:46PM

FYI, the Indiana registration deadline is correct - October 4th

TheronSep 23, 2004 at 3:47PM

I’m voting absentee from Colorado and haven’t received anything in the mail either. I called the elections office & the lady there said it won’t be mailed until early October (the 2nd I think). I’m sure this varies by state & I haven’t seen anything on this topic online. The woman I talked to was very helpful and confirmed that she received my application. If you’re worried, I’d suggest finding your elections office phone number from one of the above sites & giving them a call.

christinaSep 23, 2004 at 3:49PM

Right on, Jason. One site I haven’t seen mentioned yet is

November 2

Are you open for post-elections suggestions? If so, mobilize resources on the draft.

MikeSep 23, 2004 at 4:12PM

The Center for Voting & Democracy has some useful pages:

Their Voting Information Center has links addressing issues like “Where can I register,” “What are my state’s requirements,” “Where do I vote,” and “How far in advance do I need to register?”

Their Voting Rights page discusses the federal Voting Rights Act.

Other useful sites include the League of Women Voters, the Federal Election Commission, and the Voting Section of the US DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

Slightly O/T, but see also Jeffrey Toobin’s latest New Yorker column on enforcement of the Voting Rights Act in the coming election.

Steve BissonnetteSep 23, 2004 at 4:13PM

Some good resources which Mike is frequently updating,

StephenSep 23, 2004 at 4:16PM

I find that one of the biggest problems with most elections is the high number of competing claims in political ads and statements. FactCheck.org seems to be a reliable source of non-partisan information. They take statements in ads and speeches and compare them with the actual statistics.

GarySep 23, 2004 at 4:29PM

1. Congress appears to have relented on the obscene, restrictive policy for overseas voters. http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2004/0920/web-dodvote-09-23-04.asp

2. Since I don’t trust the above people, refer overseas voters to this one: http://www.overseasvote2004.com/

Matt BucherSep 23, 2004 at 4:42PM

Also, I would really like to know how to find a sample ballot online. I know each state has a different ballot with other important elections and initiatives on it, but I have trouble finding it online before hand. I’ve tried the league of women voters and NY State’s board of elections www.elections.state.ny.us/, but none seem to have sample ballots online. You would think knowing what you are voting on before you vote is a pretty basic part of voting…

SumanaSep 23, 2004 at 4:45PM

You’re looking for info on discouraging the vote? “Voter terrorism” by Farhad Manjoo at Salon.com (subscription or free pass (ad viewing))

teaser: “For decades, Republicans have mounted highly organized operations to discourage minorities from voting. Experts say there’s no reason to believe this year’s presidential campaign will be any different.”

jkottkeSep 23, 2004 at 4:47PM

I would really like to know how to find a sample ballot online.

Yes, sample ballots would be good.

SumanaSep 23, 2004 at 4:47PM

http://www.justdemocracy.org/ “On Election Day, Just Democracy will mobilize a nationwide network of law school students to help 500,000 voters at 500 high-risk polling places exercise their rights and ensure that eligible voters are not wrongly turned away.”

EllisSep 23, 2004 at 5:02PM

I am currently at work on a site that answers most of Jason’s questions:


Relaunching with a new design next week. Stay tuned.

Eugene ChanSep 23, 2004 at 5:14PM

Here’s a new site called Better Questions, Better Decisions that is dedicated to helping people in low-income communities figure out why they should vote in this election.

Check out the digital stories made by community members.

MikeSep 23, 2004 at 5:49PM

Re: sample ballots - your best bet is to contact your county election department. I can provide links to some sample Texas ballots if you’re interested. Many counties may not have sample ballots for the upcoming 2004 election prepared yet.

Also, here are links to some videos explaining how to use the eSlate electronic voting machine, which is the popular model here in Texas. MPEG videos in English, Spanish & Vietnamese.

jonahSep 23, 2004 at 5:57PM

I had the same issue with voter registration, every site had so much crap and propaganda. Then I found this on the LA Times site:


It has a lot of what you asked for, registration by state, polling places, ballot initiatives. It is very helpful. Start by clicking on your state and you will see.

JimSep 23, 2004 at 6:04PM

In Oklahoma, your voter registration card actually lists your polling place, complete with address.

Scott JohnsonSep 23, 2004 at 6:06PM

“This is a good idea. I registered by mail to vote in Washington, but haven’t received any kind of confirmation. The deadline is rapidly approaching. Should I register again? How can I find out if I’m registered?”

I’m with Dave on this one. I registered by mail in Texas. It’s been over a month, and I have received no confirmation. It sure would be nice to know whether I’m registered.

Kip IngramSep 23, 2004 at 6:16PM

Well, one thing that I can’t help wondering is “why wouldn’t you need ID when you vote?” If an unidentified, undocumented human body goes into a booth and votes, how do you know he or she hasn’t done the same thing once, twice, or twenty times earlier in the day?

markSep 23, 2004 at 7:08PM

www.tellanamericantovote.com is a site that will send Americans overseas a ballot. It also seems that they can have “emergency write-in ballots” sent off if you have yet to receive your ballot fails to arrive.

essSep 23, 2004 at 7:49PM

Doesn’t the league of women voters have this covered?

Eric TF BatSep 23, 2004 at 8:02PM

Good luck dude. Anything you can do to bring democracy to the USA would be a Good Thing for the whole world. Bravo! (I speak from the Australian POV; voting is compulsory here, which emphasises that the franchise is as much a duty as a privilege; we’re also having elections shortly, but because they’re compulsory our systems are considerably more streamlined and debugged.)

HarrySep 23, 2004 at 8:55PM

Register, absentee, volunteer, and help your local library get money for it, in partnership with the American Library Association.

charlesSep 23, 2004 at 8:56PM

Seattle: Ongoing Absentee Ballot Status. Never miss any election you are entitled to vote in; have the ballot in hand for 2 weeks, giving plenty of tiime to think. All via snail-mail.


HarrySep 23, 2004 at 9:09PM

Information about election protection, voter’s rights, and how you can volunteer to help voters, focusing on African American and Latino communities: http://www.electionprotection2004.org/

Jim WillisSep 23, 2004 at 9:46PM

in most states, the Office of the Secretary of State will maintain voting/polling location as well as most absentee ballot requests. The NASS site (National Association of Secretaries of State) maintains a list of election contacts for all states: http://www.nass.org/electioninfo/state_contacts.htm

Alexander MicekSep 23, 2004 at 10:06PM

As recommended by Eric Meyer not long ago, spinsanity is an excellent resource for those wishing to clear up the clouds surrounding the silly issues that the media deem “important.”

Best way to un-spin that I have seen.

CharlesSep 24, 2004 at 4:16AM

If you’re in Texas, the deadline to vote in the upcoming election is Monday, 4 October - just over a week away. You can vote early in person during the very convenient early voting period - which runs weekdays from 17 days before the election and ends 4 days before. For those Texans who don’t even want to mess with a stamp, you can visit the the Secretary of State site and request postage-paid applications so you


The voter section of the SoS site has all of the information for Texas:


JackSep 24, 2004 at 4:51AM

I registered to vote via absentee ballot by going to OverseasVote2004.com. I’m in Thailand and they had placed ads in the local English dailys saying “Register by September 15th!” which seemed to be the earliest cut off date for some states.

You go to OverseasVote2004.com and fill in your information — name, last time you voted, the country you voted in, etc — and then it gives you a PDF that you can print out with the necessary fields (that your particular state needs) filled in. For a couple of states apparently you need to then have them notorized, but not for Oregon which is where I’m registered.

One thing, the address I’m having the ballot sent to here in Thailand is a bit longer than a normal US address so when the form printed out the address was partially chopped off. I just filled it in again with a pen.

Signed the form, dropped it in the mail. Looking forward to receiving my absentee ballot soon.

- j

P.S. - I had had a question about the process and emailed them and they responded really quickly and were very helpful. It was an actual person responding (“Margo”) to me, not some automated listserv-bot… that was encouraging.

Mark WilkinSep 24, 2004 at 4:54AM

This is a state by state listing of regulations regarding convicted felons and how they can regain the right to vote.


via Micheal Moore’s Vote FAQ

Chuck WelchSep 24, 2004 at 8:04AM

The American Library Association has a registration site at Your Vote Matters.

nexSep 24, 2004 at 8:12AM

the question “do you need ID to vote?” confuses me. everyone eligible to vote gets exactly one vote, right? and the people in charge of the ballot boxes enforce this rule, right? so how could you vote without showing your ID and being crossed off a list?

apparently in the US things are a little different from austria. over here — mind you, this is a country known for civil servants who are lazy and unfriendly because they can’t be fired anyway — the info on where exactly you have to go to vote and who in the house is eligible is brought right to your home. but i’m not at home, so what do i do? i open the web site of my home town, fill out a little form and three days later mr. postman brings my absentee ballot. then i open the website of the city where i am, fill out another little form and it tells me which polling places are in my vincinity (i can use whichever one i like). when the day has come, i go to the one i chose and fill out another little form. this time, it’s on paper and nearly impossible to fuck up. super-easy.

but in the US, the government doesn’t put any useful information on how to vote online?

IrakliSep 24, 2004 at 8:50AM

Another “Out of US” question:

at what time exactly and from which source are the first election results annouced? Does this happen on a per-state basis, which wouldn’t make sense die to electorate bias, or at a given time?

I realise there might be a “Florida” issue again, but it would be noce to know where and when to tune in.


Matt BucherSep 24, 2004 at 10:30AM

I think reading these comments proves Jason’s point: we need clean, concise information here. The voting system is a complete mess. Government has always been behind the curve with technology, but while they have picked up the pace in some areas (irs.gov for one), they have completely missed the boat on voting (why not vote.gov?). Local elections and elections-boards complicate the centralization of this data, but the federal-state-municipal system doesn’t seem to invoke the same chaos when it comes to law enforcement, taxes, or other issues as it does with voting. I’m starting to think the whole voting system must be revolutionized soon.

Dan BoothSep 24, 2004 at 11:22AM

Last weekend I went to a poll monitor training in New York run by Election Protection 2004 (mentioned above) in conjunction with Impact 2004 (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/law/impact/) and others. Since their monitors will be spreading out across the country on election day, they gave us the sites to download absentee ballots for three local states:

NY - www.elections.state.ny.us
October 26 deadline to postmark application for ballot, November 1 deadline to postmark ballot (must be received by Board of Elections by November 9). You can also apply in person until November 1 and can hand-deliver a ballot to the board of elections on November 2 (election day).

CT - www.sots.state.ct.us/ElectionsDivision/Elecform.html
Ballot applications must be dropped off or mailed to the town clerk, whose offices are listed on the apllication; you can call 860-509-6100 to find the mailing address for your town clerk. They will have absentee ballots available starting October 1.

NJ - www.njelections.org/absentee_doe.html
Applications by mail must be received 7 days before the election; applications can be made in person until 3:00 PM November 1.

For other states, an internet search on “state name” and “board of elections” should bring up each state’s site.

Little plug: you can volunteer as a monitor at http://www.electionprotection2004.org/volunteer.htm

Chuck TrierSep 24, 2004 at 2:04PM


Best info and up-to-date is the above url. Voted
absentee last few years and don’t look back.
Can take my time, not have to worry about
where the polling place is, stand in line, etc.
The local libraries are a really great source
and it is so easy in Washington State to vote
absentee. Go for it.

CityRagSep 24, 2004 at 3:37PM

How to Swing

Join the Battle - be a Swing State Hero

Voting is Better Than Crack

excellent post and great info coming in with the responses, you rule Jason!

MaggiSep 24, 2004 at 4:31PM

A tip for those with dual citizenship—there is some sort of paperwork you must fill out before voting in a national election. I was unaware of this in 2000 and had to give up my Canadian citizenship in favor of voting (for a candidate who ended up losing—thanks, jeb! it’s a terrible irony). I’m no help, I still don’t know where the forms are to be found, or who they’re submitted to!

Also: In washington, you can contact your county’s voter registration bureau to find out a) if you’re registered, b) your precinct, c) etc. They’re helpful that way.

CharlesSep 24, 2004 at 6:04PM

Working for Change has a roundup here:


Sam PrattSep 24, 2004 at 7:24PM

Rules on things like absentee voting may vary from state to state, so be careful.

One thing in New York — follow the directions carefully on absentees. Seriously, mark an X *inside* the box. Don’t write any message on your ballot, or even include a note inside your ballot envelope, because it can be disqualified.

Sounds dumb, but having been involved in several close election campaigns in my area, you’d be surprised how many people spoil their ballot.

Best thing to do is to go to your State board’s website and read up on all the details. You can call your local board of elections, but double-check whatever info they give you — incompetence is rife in some places.

Here’s the New York State site:

John GraySep 25, 2004 at 2:34AM

Late to the game here, but I’ve got a couple of things to add. The deadline for registration in California is October 18 according to the Secretary of State’s web site, and there’s more info on that page. I would not recommend using their online form though, because first they mail it to you, then you have to mail it in. Instead, use something like Just Vote. Second, I started compiling a list of election-related resources a few days ago. It’s short but useful, http://del.icio.us/brainpipe/elections.

John GraySep 25, 2004 at 2:56AM

Oh, and to help answer some of your questions (which I apologize for not doing in my first comment):

1. This FEC FAQ lists registration deadlines by state, as does the Military Advantage. I haven’t compared state by state so I don’t know if they’re the same as the link you provided.

2. SlagleRock’s Slaughterhouse, Military Advantage and the Federal Voting Assistance Program have information related to absentee balloting, particularly for overseas citizens and military personnel.

3. The FVAP page linked above is apparently back online for military users.

4. Just Vote has a polling place locator where you can enter your zip code. It seems to only find your county election office, but it provides a phone number and you can call them to find a polling place (usually pretty close to home).

I don’t have good answers for 5 and 6. Hope it helps.

NatSep 25, 2004 at 5:00AM

The Sunshine State isn’t exactly known for getting it’s act together in regards to elections, so here’s a set of links primarily focused on the state of Florida in the hopes we’re not the laughing stock of the nation again, or suffer the wrath from another series of hurricanes next season.

A voter’s registration application can be printed online in PDF form, or simply pick one up at most public libraries in the state of Florida (try the larger branches first for better luck.) Registration for the general election is closed October 4, 2004.

Information on absentee voting in Florida, and an absentee voting fact sheet in PDF form. “Marked ballots must be mailed or delivered in person reaching the supervisor of elections’ office not later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. Do not return your voted absentee ballot to a polling place.”

Information on the various voting machines being used in Florida, searchable by system, county, vendor, and precinct voting method.

The websites of the three vendors primarily used in Florida has online demonstration of their various voting machines:

Diebold Election Systems
Election Systems & Software
Sequoia Voting Systems

There doesn’t appear to be a simple site to find out which polling place to go to, but you can find more information from the various county supervisors of elections.

SharynSep 25, 2004 at 11:30AM

From a collaborative progressive weblog in Minnesota:

Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer recently distributed Terrorist Warning Posters and requested that they be hung prominently in polling stations across the state. Governor Pawlenty requested the city councils in Minneapolis and St. Paul to reconsider laws that limit situations in which police officers can ask about a person’s immigration status. Pawlenty wants to empower police officers to ask any person, regardless of what they are doing at the time, for proof of legal status in the country.

Please note the timing of the actions by Pawlenty and Kiffmeyer. On a local, tactical level, the two initiatives raise a powerfully intimidating barrier to voting in the November 2 election. Nationally, they fit into a larger pattern of voter suppression activities by Republicans in swing states.

In Arizona, Flordia, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Dakota armed police officers are investigating immigrants that file absentee ballots, the notorious florida voter purges are happening again, Posters are being distributed saying that all traffic tickets must be paid before voting, and many other resurrections of Jim Crow. The list is long and growing.

As the election nears, massive systems will be in play. Republicans who control state assets, law enforcement, immigration, data will manipulate them to exert pressure on demographics likely to vote for Kerry. It is a typical Republican strategy.

Changing the course of this is well beyond the control of the average citizen. But there is a solution: Vote. Vote in droves. If you have questions on any of the information you read or hear, ask. If you feel you are being suppressed, resist. If you have questions on how to register, ask. If you need a ride to the polls, ask.

joshSep 25, 2004 at 5:55PM

Jason - hope it’s not too late to add a few links to your list.

the FEC has this list of registration deadlines —>

here’s a national polling place finder —>

the state of Washington has a pretty comprehensive site at —>

for those in King County not voting absentee, there’s a polling place lookup —> https://www.metrokc.gov/elections/pollingplace/birthday.aspx

(the rest of the site has links to explain absentee voting, etc. for King County)

for people looking to participate in the election, Music for America’s Voter X action guide is a good start (some of the less partisan links, above, are from this site) —>

joshSep 25, 2004 at 5:58PM

Jason - hope it’s not too late to add a few links to your list. (reposted to makes the links linkier)

the FEC has this list of registration deadlines —>

here’s a national polling place finder —>

the state of Washington has a pretty comprehensive site at —>

for those in King County not voting absentee, there’s a polling place lookup —> https://www.metrokc.gov/elections/pollingplace/birthday.aspx

(the rest of the site has links to explain absentee voting, etc. for King County)

for people looking to participate in the election, Music for America’s Voter X action guide is a good start (some of the less partisan links, above, are from this site) —>

Richard BrameSep 27, 2004 at 1:39AM

If you will please forgive my shameless self-promotion, I have assembled a number of useful polls at www.tracktheelection.org

KarianneSep 28, 2004 at 6:37PM

A few people have mentioned the League of Women Voters. They provide a comprehensive list of voter registration deadlines for each state:

They also have state by state contact information, if you have questions:

Other info: Many states allow you to vote without registering beforehand, without ID or a home address, using a “challenged” ballot. You then have a certain period after the election to provide all the information required to make your vote legitimate. Information on challenged ballots is very difficult to find, however, and many election officials don’t know about them. As a sample, here are the voter rights for the state of Maine:

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.