This guide was originally published for the 2022 primaries and has been modified and reposted for the current election cycle.

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. 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, not voting can have truly tragic results, so it’s important to exercise our democratic right whenever possible.

Donations, protests, and boycotts make 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 how you’re affiliated, here’s a step by step guide to register to vote in this year’s midterm election.

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, along with your political party information. If you’re fully registered, skip to step 3!

Step 2: Register to Vote + For a Party

TurboVote is an extremely helpful resource that makes registering to vote easy. It will guide you through a step by step process of registering to vote in your state. If all you want to do is officially register for a party, you can click “reregister” to be guided through that pathway.

Once you’re fully signed up, TurboVote will give you information on how to download absentee ballots and text you reminders before every election!

Step 3: Make a Voting Plan

If you’re voting in person:

The United States election day is November 8th. Put that in your calendar right now. Way too many people plan to vote and then forget it is happening when the day rolls around, especially during midterm election years 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.

If November 8th doesn’t work for you, you can request an absentee ballot in many states, or look into early voting policies. The best way to do this is to simply google “[Your State] early voting”, since it varies dramatically across the country. 

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 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!

This is the most important step, because nothing else you’ve done up to this point matters if you don’t follow through and vote. If you have candidates on your ballot that are submitted under multiple parties (for example, the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party), I recommend filling in the bubble next to the party that you feel the most strongly about. The vote goes to the same person, but it shows your lack of support for the two party system and hopefully will help promote more systemic change.

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!