2022 is the year of the midterm elections in the United States, and it has never been more important to make sure you get out and vote. In order to vote in the primaries, you must be eligible to vote and (in most states) registered for a specific political party. Political parties do not force you to vote for them in the general elections, so I would highly recommend everyone register for a party simply to give yourself more power over what happens in this country.

I know that voting will not solve everything. In fact, it more or less seems pointless when voting hasn’t seemed to get everything done. However, the primaries are our chance to show the Democratic party that we want a more liberal party, and that we are willing to work to make that happen. Donation, protests, and boycotts may make more of an impact, but at the end of the day there needs to be people in office who will actually listen to what the people on the streets have to say.

Regardless of whether you’re affiliated, here’s a step by step guide to register to vote specifically for the primaries. The guide can be applied to the general election as well!

Step 1: Check Your Registration

It’s super easy to check and see if you’re registered to vote. Just head over to this website, enter your information, and press “Search”. It will tell you if you’re registered and where you were are registered, along with your political party information. If you are fully registered, skip to step 3!

Step 2: Register to Vote + For a Party

One of the most helpful websites for your registration purposes is TurboVote. TurboVote will guide you through a step by step process of registering to vote in your state. If you need to sign up for a party, it will also help you to do that if you click “reregister”.

Once you’re fully signed up, it will give you information on how to download absentee ballots, along with text information for each election, which can be crucial to remembering that an election is coming up.

Step 3: Make a Voting Plan

If you’re voting in person:

Figure out what day voting will happen, and put it on your calendar right now. Way too many people plan to vote and then forget it is happening when the day rolls around, especially during primaries and midterms when it’s less advertised.

Then, figure out what your company’s policy is. Do you need to request time off in advance? Companies are required to give you a two hour voting window, but the logistics of that vary from state to state and company to company. Figuring this out as far in advance as possible can help prevent any unseen complications from arising.

You can look up your polling place by googling “[Your state] voter registration lookup” and entering your information. This will reveal whether you successfully registered to vote, and where you should be voting on election day. Knowing this in advance can make your life a lot less stressful on voting day!

If you’re voting absentee:

Not all states allow you to vote absentee, and different states have different reasons that they consider legitimate. Make sure you look into this before deciding to vote absentee, because you don’t want your ballot to not count!

Voting absentee requires you to request an absentee ballot. You can do that by downloading the absentee ballot request form. You’ll find this form either through TurboVote, or by googling “absentee ballot [your state here]”. For the most part, completed absentee ballot requests are required to be mailed to the town clerk at least two weeks before voting day, although I recommend you do it earlier so nothing gets lost in the mail.

Once you’ve done that, you can sit back, relax, and wait for your ballot to come in the mail!

Step 4: Vote!

If you’re voting in person:

Head over to your designated polling place, found by googling “[Your state] voter registration lookup”, and vote!

If you’re voting absentee:

When your ballot comes in the mail, fill it out and send it back immediately. Absentee ballots are typically taken until the day before the election, but the mail system is faulty sometimes and it’s better to give it as much time as possible to get there.

In theory, you are not required to stamp your envelope, since voting is a right. However, if you can afford to do so, I HIGHLY recommend it, since it decreases the odds that the postal office will manipulate the delivery of your vote.

And then you’re done! Congratulations on voting!