As everyone knows, today is Election Day! It is estimated that 120 million Americans will go to the polls to cast their votes for our 45th president.

With this being the first year many students in college can vote in the presidential election, it is important to educate yourself on what this process will be like and the dos and don’ts of voting.

Here are 9 things you need to know on Election Day:

1. Your vote matters, so actually take the time to go vote


I’m sure you’ve heard this over and over, but your vote counts! Take the time out of your day to cast your vote and help decide who leads your country. You have the right to vote in the city where you live, and you should exercise this right and fulfill your civic duty.

Bonus: Consider voting by mail with an absentee ballot!

Here’s are few reasons why voting by mail might be a better option for you:

  • You’d like to submit your vote early before election day
  • You want to avoid the lines and hassle of getting to your polling place
  • You’re going to be out of town or unable to get to your polling place in time
  • You’d rather vote in your hometown

Learn how to get a Winona County Absentee ballot or look online for your hometown election office resources. Just make sure you mail your ballot by Election Day!

2. Know your polling location and what to expect


Want to vote in person but not sure where you have to go? You can easily figure this out through the Polling Place Finder. It is also helpful to view what your Winona County election ballot will look like ahead of time so you know what to expect.

3. Plan what time you are going


In order to get in and out of the polls as quickly as possible (because nobody likes crowds and having to wait), try to go to the polls during off hours. The ideal times to go vote are between 10am – 11:30am and 1:30pm – 3:30pm. 

No worries if you’re busy during these times – the polls in Minnesota are open from 7am – 8pm!

4. Know what NOT to wear


There isn’t a strict dress code for voting by any means, but there are a few rules you have to follow. When at your polling location, you cannot wear any T-shirts, buttons, stickers or any other political material.

If you do, you will have to remove them or cover them while you vote. In addition, you cannot campaign in or within 100 feet of any polling place.

5. You can leave work to vote


If you have to work during voting hours, you have the right to take time off work to vote without losing pay, vacation time or personal leave. Certain Minnesota Statutes allow you to do this, and your employer cannot refuse, limit or interfere with this right.

6) You can take a selfie – within reason


Casting your vote provides the perfect opportunity to take an awesome selfie. Lucky for us Minnesotans, it is legal to take a photo of only yourself with your ballot (you cannot capture anyone in the photo at your polling location). 

This differs from Wisconsin, where you cannot take any voting selfies at your polling location.

7. Ask for help


Poll workers are there to help you and answer any questions you may have to make the process run smoothly. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

8. You can register to vote at your polling place on Election Day


If you didn’t pre-register to vote, don’t fret! In Minnesota you are able to register to vote at your polling location on Election Day (refer to #2 to figure out where your location is).

Just bring your driver’s license AND proof of address, such as your lease or rental agreement that is valid through Election Day, or a bill, account statement or service statement for your current residence dated within the past 30 days.

If you already registered to vote before Election Day, you’ll still need to bring your driver’s license with you.

9. Be respectful before, during and after you vote


Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It’s important to understand this and be respectful of those around you at your polling location, at work, on campus, etc.

You don’t need to have the same views as someone else, but having a mutual respect for each other’s opinions is what matters.

Happy voting, Warriors!