Understanding Your Voting Rights

The right to vote has remained a hot topic for all Americans since the Declaration of Independence. For the black community, in particular, there has been a steady rise in voter turnout since 1996, until 2016, when the numbers drastically dropped.

Image for post
Image for post

The current administration has done little, if anything, to address the issues faced by minorities, specifically black men under 35 years. There is so much racism in the country, police brutality persists, and there are many reports of killings in the hands of law enforcement officers.

To remedy all this, we must vote, and vote for change. The only time blacks exceeded whites was in the 2012 elections. We did it, so we have the numbers, and we should show up and vote.

Here’s who can vote in the coming general elections.

Who can vote?

Image for post
Image for post

Here is a list of the groups that qualify as eligible voters.

One must be a United States citizen. All registered voters must be American citizens. This requirement excludes all foreigners, including legal permanent residents, from the electoral process.

Persons aged at least 18 years before the election date. Maturity is a key consideration for this provision, with people at this age considered old enough to understand the importance of the procedure. At 18, you are an adult, and you can vote. If you are still 17, but will turn 18 before Election Day, you should register as a voter before the set deadline.

If you are homeless, you can still vote. People in this category may register a shelter as the home address, a street corner, or a park. Different states have different requirements regarding the acceptable duration of residence at listed locations for them to be considered home addresses.

This year, we need everyone to take part. Your vote counts, so register and help change this country.

Who can’t vote?

Image for post
Image for post

Every democratic system has checks and balances, and the electoral system is no different. In ensuring a fair election, these groups of people aren’t allowed to vote.

Persons convicted of some felonies. This provision varies from state to state, with each region specifying the offenses that cost the convicted party his or her right to vote. Some states allow convict voting during incarceration, and others after release. As a black man, know your rights as regulated by law in your state. Ensure that you register afresh or actively participate as legally permitted.

Mentally incapacitated persons. Some state laws deny you the right to vote if you are declared legally insane, an idiot, or legally incompetent. The aim of this provision is the participation of people with sound mind, and individuals who understand the process. One could argue that mental incapacitation makes you unsuitable for such a crucial decision.

Foreigners. If you are not a citizen, you cannot vote. Holders of foreign passports, even those who have legal permanent residence cannot participate in a general election.

Considering that not all Americans speak English, there are translators at each polling station. These valuable members of staff readily assist any and all voters in need of their services.

While, or after serving time, you can still vote

Image for post
Image for post

There are different state laws governing the rights of people convicted of felonies. Ensure that you contact your local office for accurate information regarding voting regulations. This coming election, we need everyone on board. Play an active role in pushing for change by voting and ensuring that everyone around you takes part.

Make a difference this year by choosing to vote so you can become a part of the change we all need in America today. Commit to this important process, go choose to vote at BlackMenVote.org. Once you are done, share the link with your friends and have them join #ourbloc too.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store