Patricia A. O'Malley

Social Policy & Programs Consulting

Training and Services for agencies working toward social and economic justice

Patricia A. O'Malley
Social Policy & Programs Consulting    ~    Community Matters
P.O. Box 97803    ~    Pittsburgh, PA  15227   ~    412-310-4886    ~
Copyright Patricia A. O'Malley    ~    All rights reserved
Established 1993

Make Sure You’re Registered to Vote
Honor those who fought for you.

September 29, 2016



The original US Constitution didn’t say much about voting.  The founders left the rules and mechanics up to the states.  And then they found that most Americans couldn’t vote.  So Congress and the states adopted five constitutional amendments over 101 years, extending voting rights to minorities, women, 18 to 21-year-olds, and residents of the District of Columbia.  They abolished poll taxes.

But that wasn’t enough.  Even after the 15th amendment allegedly extended voting rights to non-white men, Southern racists still barred black people from voting.  And then Americans of all races, religions, and incomes gathered in Selma Alabama in 1965.  They organized.  They marched.  They fought.  They were attacked.  Some of them died.

They did those things to extend voting rights to ALL American adults.
They did it for you.

How to Register and Verify
If you want to vote in the presidential election on November 8, you must meet your state’s registration rules and deadline.  

You can find that information, or verify that you’re already registered,  here.

On November 8, voters will choose more than just the president.   

All US House of Representatives seats and all US Senate seats in Class III are up, as well as many state and local offices. 

This year’s election is the most important in American history.  We’ll decide whether our next president will be an intelligent, capable, experienced adult, or if we want a petulant, whiny crybaby with no impulse control or grasp of reality. 

If you want to be a part of that decision, you must register to vote.

Make Your Decisions
If you don’t know for whom you should vote, now is the time to do some research.   For objective information on candidates’ voting records and positions, go to or  Votesmart has information on every candidate for every race – local, state, and national – in the US.  Ontheissues compares candidates’ public statements with their voting records and has background information on dozens of issues.  

You can also watch the debates, visit the candidates’ own websites, attend campaign events like rallies and town meetings, and read in-depth news coverage and voters’ guides.  In the end, vote for the candidates who reflect your views most closely.  No single candidate will be perfect, but you know what’s important to you. 

More Voting Information
After you register, REMEMBER TO VOTE!  If you’ve never voted before, don’t worry about the voting machines.  If you can work an automatic banking machine, a TV remote controller, or a cell phone, you can work a voting machine.  If you’re nervous about it, there is more information and a demonstration on your local election website.  There is also help available at the polling place on Election Day.

If the poll workers tell you there’s a problem with your registration, ask for a provisional ballot. 

They MUST give you one.
If you’re in line to vote when the polls close, STAY IN LINE.  Anyone in line at closing time can still vote.

It is illegal for anyone to keep you from voting. 

You cannot be fired from your job or evicted from your home, for voting. 

No one can tell you how to vote.

If you can’t get to the polling place on Election Day, you can get an absentee ballot, but don’t wait too long. 

See your state’s website for details.

You can find more information about voting from the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
State voting laws vary. 

For More Information:  Voting and Elections
Federal Voting Assistance Program
U.S. Constitution

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate
Community Matters:  Voting and Elections
Community Matters:  U.S. Congress

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