Election 2012 resources for American voters

‘Tis the season to head to the polls, but voting isn’t as easy as just showing up. So, if you are casting a ballot, check out these resources:

Verify your voter registration status, where to vote and what sort of identification is required to cast a ballot at CanIVote.org.

Many states allow early voting. Check with your local elections office for requirements, times and locations. You can also apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot. Military service members and other U.S. citizens living abroad may also vote this way.

Congress.org lists important deadlines, dates and election information by state.

The American Civil Liberties Union lists voting rights by state.

Many states have recently passed voter fraud protection laws that disproportionally suppress the vote of people of color, students, people in poverty and senior citizens. The Congressional Black Caucus lists resources and strategies for overcoming these restrictions.

For voters with disabilities, the Brennan Center for Justice created an in-depth guide to potential voting accessibility issues and Nonprofit Vote lists information on voting with disabilities by state.

All states except Maine and Vermont somehow restrict the voting rights of prisoners, ex-cons, felons, and/or misdemeanor offenders. Check your state’s restrictions at ProCon.org.

Brush up on the basics of America’s election process by reading Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government. The guide is meant for younger audiences, but it’s chock full of easy to understand information for people of all ages.

Ballot.org compiles voting guides by state from different organizations, including unions, political parties and nonprofits. Also check with your favorite nonprofits, political organizations and publications for the issues and candidates they support.

Voters can type in their address on SmartVoter.org to easily find information on candidates and ballot initiatives. The website, created by League of Women Voters, generates a virtual copy of your ballot with candidate information, including endorsements, biography, opinions on issues and the candidate’s website.

Check a politician’s voting history while in office at OnTheIssues.org.

The National Center for Transgender Equality created an intersectional guide to overcoming voting obstacles that addresses identification issues for transgender people, as well as other possible problems that could arise on election day.

The Veteran’s Party of America breaks down homeless voting registration policies for each state, and the National Coalition for the Homeless created a comprehensive homeless voter’s rights guide.

If your right to vote is refused or if any other issue arises while voting, contact Election Protection, a nonpartisan organization devoted to providing access to voters.

View election results on your state’s secretary of state website, your local board of elections website, or your favorite local news outlet.

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