How to Register Your 18-Year-Old Child to Vote for the First Time

Individuals younger than 18 years old can register themselves to vote and this election procedure is called pre-registration. The legal voting age for federal and state election in the United States is 18 and, once they reach this age, they are eligible to cast their vote!

Whether you’re handing off the reigns to your kid to take charge of the registration process themselves or staying by their side throughout each step, below is just about everything you need to know to get the ball rolling.

New Voter Pre-Registration

With a pre-registration or pending status, new voters would be added to the voter registration list just by filling out an application form. And upon turning eighteen the person will be able to cast his or her first ballot.

Now pre-registration depends on voters’ age. Some allow 17 years old to pre-register while others have set the criteria of 16 years. There are some states who have no specific age restriction for pre-registration. In some states, a 17-year-old can cast a ballot in the primary election if and only if he or she will turn 18 before the general election.

States that permit preregistration at age of 16:

Rhode Island, Utah, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon.

States that permit preregistration at age of 17:

New Jersey, West Virginia, Maine, and Nevada,

States that have different preregistration age criteria:

  • In Alaska, voter under 18 can register within 90 days before turning 18th.
  • 17.5 is the age criteria for preregistration in Iowa, Missouri, and Georgia.
  • Texas permits 10 months of age for preregistration.

States that have no specific age restriction:

There are some states that have no specific age criteria and one can register for next election right after the previous one even at the age of 16. For further details about pre-registration age, reach out to officials of the state election.

There is no pre-registration prior to the election in North Dakota. And one can only register after turning 18.

Who Can Register To Vote?

One is eligible to register for the vote in federal elections if:

  1. A person who is 18 years of age
  2. A legal citizenor natural born citizen of the United States of America
  3. A person who meets their state’s residency requirements

Voting requirements for local state elections vary from state to state. Check out this state voting requirement resource to find out the rules in your local state (we can’t guarantee the accuracy of this site, so always check with your local municipalities to confirm.)

How To Cast The First Ballot

The process of casting vote is not as complicated as we presume. By following a few basic steps we can easily register our self and can cast our vote. At state and federal level there are countless resources that can answer your queries and guide the people who are unfamiliar with the process. Here are six simple steps you need to know if you want to cast a vote.

Registration: States and territories have different requirements for registration at a local level. In many states, one can register online following a link, in person or via paper only when they are a qualified voter. They can also register for absentee voting, in case they need to go out of state on the day of voting.

Research Candidate of Political Parties: An informed voter is the one who selects an eligible candidate, unaffected by party propaganda and without relying on media coverage and paid promotions. This knowledgeable decision asks you to do extensive research before supporting someone with your vote. First-time voters must go through the comprehensive guidelines to become an informed voter.

Know The Issue: An informed voter must be aware of the current issues of the state and country that is at stake, as well as have clarity on their individual stance on these issues. On the occasion of any sort of election, be it city council election or presidential, understanding ones own personal values and principles about the way the government should operate is really at the core of being able to choose candidates that align with ones beliefs.

Check Rules And Regulations of State: On Election Day even busy people can ample time to cast a ballot because voting stations are open for 12 hours at least. According to federal law, first-time voters must submit a pay stub, photo id, bill, or government document showing their current address and full name. In some states, all voters are required to bring a photo ID in order to cast a vote.

Find Your Polling Station: Polling stations are assigned by state election depending on the voter’s current address. You can find your station either on USA.gov in the search tool or you can directly contact the election office for details. You can also use ‘’get to the polls’’ to see find your polling station.

Cast Your Vote: Gone are the days when you need to feel frustrated because of delayed results. Now states have introduced an electronic voting system, which uses a touch screen or optical scanning that makes voting painless and getting results faster than ever before.

You can also check the machine at the polling station of your state. Gizmodo gives you a list of the type of machine and states so the first time voters can save their time can feel knowledgeable and confident.

 

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Free Services You Probably Don’t Realize Your Local Library Offers

With the world literally at our fingertips, it’s easy to forget that one of the best resources for education and entertainment isn’t just your home computer or tablet. It’s your local library – and there’s a good chance you have no idea just how much there is to discover there.

After all, you’re paying for it. Whether it be through federal and state funded programs or via your town’s real estate taxes, you and your neighbors are already funding your local library, so you might as well enjoy it!

Sure, you have probably taken advantage of the stacks upon stacks of books that line every row shelves. But what about everything else?

Let’s explore just how much a typical local library offers that you can benefit from.

Free Movie Rental, DVDs, CDs, and Magazines

Your local library likely has a huge media catalog which may include audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, magazines and videotapes. You can cut down your subscription charges with Netflix and Redbox by checking out from your local library instead. Some movie rentals are free, others may require a low fee as compared to subscription charges. Typically, new releases and popular items will still be free, but have a shorter rental period. Call or visit your library to find out what’s available.

The robust collection of DVDs subscription will leave you astonished. If you’re looking for family favorite and classics and are fed up with blockbusters, you can visit your local library. It’s common for libraries to stock magazines collection so you don’t have to read the content standing at a grocery store and you don’t have to spend a few dollars for reading a single issue. And if you’re going on a road trip just visit your library, grab a CD, and drive carefree without the struggle of tuning in to local radio stations.

Free Online Courses For Career Advancement

If you want to advance your career and learn a new skill then you need to know that your local library gives you access to various online courses for free. It ranges from business and sales to health care and marketing. You can also join and start a course for your entertainment in various categories which include arts, digital photography, personal finance, computer courses and much more.

These courses are taught by college professors and you can avail any course out of 360 by Gale Courses. Use your library card and excel at your skills for free.

Free Summer Reading Programs And Online Tutoring For Kids

Being a parent some of you want to see your child exploring his talent rather than wasting all the summer vacations playing video games, lying in bed. There are services available at the local library for your child too to encourage him to put down his gadgets and read books rather than gaming all the time.

Some local library also offers online tutoring for kindergarten through brain fuse. With the help of this program, your kid can join online study groups, games, online quizzes. It also provides an online tutor your kid can interact with every day. A live tutor is available from 1 pm to 10 pm. Your kid can seek help for his homework and can also submit questions.

Citizenship Resources And Language Learning

If you’re not a native English speaker or you don’t have a strong grip on English language or you want to learn a new language before going on a tour to other corners of the world, the best place to go is your library. Many libraries provide access to the Pronunciator series of courses or other language learning resources. It can help you learn dozens of languages in a short time. A normal subscription to Pronunciator is as high as 295 dollars per years but it’s free with your library membership.

Events, Classes, And Programs

If you’re thinking of utilizing your spare time productively, then you can fill all the unmarked days on your calendar with library activities. Rather than spending your precious time in isolation, you should visit our libraries and avail every opportunity that gives you an escape from monotonous life. Some free programs include career counseling, cooking classes, movie screening, and leadership opportunities for teens, anime club, workout classes, author visits and meet-ups with local interest based organization. A patron can enjoy all these cool events for free.

Kid’s Friendly Area

A library that has a dedicated area for your kid is worth finding and visiting. Some libraries offer kid-friendly toys, games, computers, and puzzles so they too can develop an interest in visiting libraries. If you’re living in a major city then your local library may offer you’re an incredible discount passes for places like museum, zoo, parks, aquarium, concerts, sports gala, ballet, orchestra happening near you.

How To Enjoy These Resources

You must apply for a library card if you don’t have one and this is a simple, free, and relatively easy process that requires little effort. Take advantage of all that your local library offers and save some of your hard earned cash with its free services. A library is a place you’ll never regret going and is worth every minute of the time you spent there.

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Who Decides What To Do With City Or County Tax Dollars?

The county budget is sensitive to the economic, legal, social, and political environment of the county or city. Before giving the insight on factors that influence county financial decision, here is illustrative break down of where your tax dollars are spent.

City or county taxes are used for different purposes than federal or country taxes. County taxes are invested for public services and betterment of infrastructure around your home, offices, and parks. But sometimes your taxes can also be used by federal government and vice versa. Whereas your state tax is used for funding projects at the national level and to support the bureaucracy.

Major County’s investment include:

Infrastructure:

City tax dollars are primarily used in the infrastructure of the county or city. It includes water lines, sewers, public parks, libraries, electricity, road development, and maintenance. Apart from taxes, county grows its financial resources by renting out properties owned by the county and are not in use. But contribute a small portion, rest is by the budget that comes from taxpayers.

City Administration

City offices are run from the tax dollars paid by the public. Sometimes property taxes are increased by the administration for their personal benefits and they earn huge salaries. Dealing with municipal finances requires a precise balance between competent people are attracted by paying high salaries for betterment and low salaries to conciliate the common person.

Public Security

Firefighters and police are those municipal departments that get their pay from tax dollars. These two departments are supported and funded by the will of people because no one mind paying their money for their protectors. For a burglarized house or for a house on fire they are the social bodies that provide you security.

County Taxes And State Taxes

At the hour of need and at the time of distress, county and state support each other by transferring their funds. So a state may share it’s the fund for the county’s infrastructure and conversely county support bureaucracy when needed.

Factors That Decide What To Do With County Tax Dollars

Political Involvement

County legislative board and managers use the budget in a way to satisfy citizens and public rather government. Budget allocation is affected by this way. County city and city size also affect the budget. Local politicians and local government provide a wide variety and quality of services to develop a good image and reputation. Then they see citizen involvement to get feedback by their public. The feedback is obtained through town hall meetings, neighborhood forums, interactive websites, and citizen survey.

Economic Influence:

There are four factors that decide economic influence

  • Economic cycle
  • Interest rates
  • Inflation
  • Competition among local governments

Economic ups and downs affect county budget because when there is a decline in revenues especially income tax and sales, economic cycle gets interrupted. During a recession, government funds to the county are reduced.

Rapid Increase in cost of living creates a state of uncertainty for county revenue and forecast of expenditure. The county budget is also affected by fluctuation in interest rates. Although, the effect is not as worse as compared to the federal government, where they need a continual borrowing.

Demographic And Social Change

Local budgets are affected by personal income, age distribution, and population. These factors exert a long-lasting effect.

Spending your fund on public safety, public education, and recreational services are the fund categories that are influenced by age distribution.  Reports have shown a significant increase in a county or local budget as the personal income of citizen increases. And person earning a high salary want to improve their lifestyle and expect an upgrade in local government services and are willing to pay taxes.

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Easy Ways To Get Involved In Your Local Community

All of us want to feel a sense of belonging in life and becoming active in our local communities is one of the quickest way to feel a part of something. Whether you’ve been living in your town for a decade or just moved in, there a number of ways to meet new neighbors, make new friends and become a contributing member of your town.

Having said that here are some ways you can easily get yourself involved in your local community:

Introduce Yourself:

The first baby step is the introduction. Just step out of your comfort zone and your house as well and meet your neighbors. Be courteous and approach your neighbors in a friendly manner and start a conversation. If a neighbor has just moved in, drop by with a Welcome Basket. If it’s winter, go door to door with homemade holiday cookies. Just find any reason to step outside and meet the homeowners around you.

Volunteer Your Free Time:

A satisfying way to spend your free time is volunteering. It requires no money and gives you a golden chance to meet like minded people. There are many different ways you can volunteer your time. If you’re an animal lover, volunteer yourself as a dog walker for a local animal shelter. Read newspaper to seniors. Volunteer yourself for collecting donations for charity events. Volunteer your services in organizing events in your community.

Subscribe To The Facebook Group Or Some App:

Social media gives you a goldmine of opportunities to socialize with your community members. There are countless groups on Facebook for just about every town out there, which is filled with your immediate neighbors. Join any group of your interest, stay active, and make friends. Community ties would be facilitated with such activities through social media. Next Door is a unique app that would help you to stay connected with your neighbors.

Join A Sports Team Or Gym:

The community sports complex is one of the strongest pillars of community engagement. Going to a gym and playing or supporting your favorite sport at your local community, facilities the chances of meeting new people of your kind, sharing a common interest. Kickboxing, yoga, bodybuilding, cycling, soccer, basketball, and cricket, all of these activities give a great networking opportunity.

Look For A Local Event Or Organize One:

Maybe you can come up with an excuse that mm No! I don’t have enough time and money to organize an event. But I suggest you give it another though differently. You can team up with some sponsors, some neighbors and throw a party or some art festival, Music night, maybe? And if you’re not convinced yet, go for the easiest option, look for some local event, and have fun enjoying it with new people, making new relations.

With little enthusiasm you can seek all those opportunities of getting involved in your community, waiting for you, just around the corner.

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How Conservative & Liberal Neighbors Can Find Common Ground

No question, there is a lot of political tension out there since the most recent Presidential election. These days, it seems like the gap between conservatives and liberals grows bigger and bigger every year. And, unfortunately, their differences have led to physical harm, emotional abuse, and name calling on both sides.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re adults here. We can act like it

We can maturely handle awkward conversations that turn political when we would instead not “go there”? We can manage differences of opinion respectfully without escalating things and sincerely admire those that think differently from us even if we don’t agree. All it takes is to keep the following points in mind.

If you are one of those folks that have strong, deeply rooted beliefs in one party system but is neighbors or friends with people who starkly disagree with you – yet you want to get along – this post is for you!

First, Realize That We Probably Have More In Common Than We Think

Look, regardless of which ‘side’ you’re on, chances are you probably agree with your friend or neighbor on at least a few things:
• You love your country
• Homeland safety is good for everyone
• Everyone wins when families are self-sufficient and can thrive economically
• A well-educated population tends to result in a more prosperous society
• When we all respect and follow the law (i.e. play by the same rules), fewer people get hurt or taken advantage of, and it’s a fair playing field for everyone
• You probably agree on a lot more too…

Yes, of course, we don’t agree on other big issues. But if we focus first on where we have common ground with people, we tend to let our guard down a little and listen without judgment, knowing that we really all want this country to prosper.

Don’t Try to Prove Anyone Wrong…Unless You Thrive On Personal Conflict and Drama

‘”Oh, you’re right, I should totally change my mind based on the fact that you disagree,” said no one ever. Even if you have facts to back up your point of view, most likely, the person stating their opposite perspective isn’t interested. Today, a lot of people have their minds made up and trying to force your beliefs onto them is not going to bode well for you.

Instead, listen. It’s ok to admit you don’t agree, but try to do so respectfully. Like “Hey, that’s a valid point. I don’t necessarily share your sentiment, but it sounds like you’ve done your research.” And, then, if they seem to be receptive, it’s probably safe to go ahead and share your own experience or research to shed some new light on the matter.

If they aren’t looking receptive, let it go. Change the subject

Stick With the Facts Jack

Social media can amplify personal conflict and let disagreements escalate quickly. Between insulting memes, condescending assumptions and outright name-calling, sometimes reason seems to escape people online entirely.

Don’t be that guy/gal

Keep your cool and stick with the facts. If you have publicly known facts that dispute a claim or shed light on a subject, share that…respectively, and sans the sarcasm or insults. Putting other people down because they don’t agree with you isn’t going to take the conversation anywhere. It’s just going to make people on both sides defensive and closed-minded.

Realize That You Might Have Something to Learn Yet

Most of us can be so pig-headed to believe we’re always right and have all the facts…but we don’t, that would be impossible. Even journalists who report on politics for a living don’t know it all!

There is always something new to learn – a fresh perspective to hear – a breaking story to come across.

If you approach heated political conversations with an open mind, ready to learn something new, rather than assuming you know it all, you might actually go, figure, learn something new.

You’ll also gain instant respect from others because they’ll see you’re a reasonable, mature person who waits for all the information before formulating an opinion and doesn’t just assume everyone outside your political party is always wrong or misinformed.

Finally, Find The Joy In Diversity

You probably will not agree on a political discussion with someone who has very opposing views as you. Most likely, you can’t convince them to change their opinions or their view of the world. However, you can help them think more carefully, and that’s valuable. There is joy in the exchange of ideas, even those that are in opposition. There is enlightenment in the simple understanding of another’s perspective. There is wisdom in letting differences bring diversity into the world. So, let’s prepare ourselves to listen to things we do not like. Let’s enjoy looking to someone whose ideas are at odds with ours, knowing that new perspectives make us stronger and wiser.

Take to heart these tips for approaching tense political discussions more amicably, and soon you’ll find that even the most uncomfortable talks with friends and neighbors can become pleasant and even enlightening if you’re open to it.

Click here to know about officials you should always vote carefully.

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The Top 5 Local Town and County Officials You Should Always Vote On Carefully

Everyone knows the importance of voting in the big elections — the president every four years, our congressmen every six years, and your representatives every two years. But a far less percentage of people regard voting in local elections as necessary, which doesn’t quite make sense, as it is at the local level that some of the most important decisions are made. Here are, arguably, the top five most important offices you should be voting for when it comes to elections in your area.

Number 1: Mayor

Now, this first one may seem like it’s a bit obvious, but your local mayor’s office can often be the first port of call if you have a problem somewhere in your area. At some point, a majority of local issues will cross the mayor’s desk, looking for approval for the idea, a question for budget reasons, or simply whether to ask the mayor what they think. In many areas, the mayor controls the local council meetings, often deciding which issues are brought up during these, and controlling the agenda. It is vital in these sorts of cases that the person that holds this position is someone you trust to get the job done, and someone you believe you can rely upon. Many local elections for mayors are often between two or three people, and one of these is usually the incumbent mayor. It doesn’t take too long to have a look to see what he or she has done in the area, and question if this is the sort of agenda you want for your area.

Number 2: School Board

Education is widely covered in the news these days, and a lot of it seems to be around the funding of schools and university students. But the important thing is to know who is in charge of the schools in your area in the first place. Your local school board will probably be around 12 people who decide how education in your area works, and how large an area a school board covers differs from state to state. It is important to vote for the people going on your school board, especially since they control school funding and the curriculum in your area. which means that these people essentially control what your child learns when they go to school. This duty gives them influence over an important part of life, and these boards have to be appropriately elected to ensure that they are learning what you think are the most important things are, and holding these board to account via the elections that are held is the best way for you to have your say on both how you feel your child is learning, as well as how well you think your school is being run overall.

Number 3: Sheriff

The reason why the sheriff is so low down the list is just that there is a lot of variation from state to state as to the powers of the sheriff. But in the places where they are the most powerful, the sheriff election is one which you cannot afford to miss. In charge of law enforcement in some places, sheriffs are elected by county and are quite likely to be the person you are placing your safety in the hands of should you ever be the victim of a crime. Sheriff elections are essential in this regard, as they handle the management of all crimes in a particular area. Key exceptions are if you hail from Alaska or Connecticut, where counties and county governments do not apply, or if you are from Hawaii, where the sheriff is appointed.

Number 4: Auditor

If you want your local government held accountable, there is no better person outside of you the voter than your local government auditor. Again, powers of an auditor vary from state to state, and one of the most powerful audit offices is in the state of Ohio. Essentially, the auditor checks the spending records of your local government, checking the financial assets to make sure that everything is in order, and there is no misuse of funds or embezzlement happening within government departments. The auditor has to know his way around financial systems, and there is no better way of choosing a competent and independent auditor than by voting one in. Some auditors also have responsibilities in property valuations and can also help you with local tax laws.

Number 5: Recorder

We come to number five, and the recorder will probably be one of the most helpful people you will need in public office. With the official title of Recorder of Deeds, this person looks after all the local records and documents of a county, including important things to you such as housing deeds. Essentially, this person is the one to go to if you need to establish your rights over property, and to protect these rights with the proof that you do indeed own what you say you do. By electing someone here, you can make sure that this person is helpful, open, and makes sure that all documents make their way to the allocated person whenever they are needed.

That wraps up this short list of five local offices that you should go out and vote for. Though some are overlooked, every elected official in your local area is someone who makes your community work and keeps it functioning in a way that allows everything to carry on as usual. Without these local officials, life would be much harder.

It would be harder to fix things, to prove things, and most importantly, nothing would get done without the multitude of locally elected officials who work tirelessly to serve and help your community. It is important in these times to make sure that the person you vote in is up to the task, and that you vote in the best person for the job.

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How To Choose A School District Wisely When Moving To A New Community

When it comes to moving from one place to another, it can be quite complicated and distressing. For some families, it could be chaotic in all aspect starting from the house to move into, having to furnish the home, and more importantly, if you have a child or children, it would be more difficult to getting them the right school to settle into.

While it could be a time of adventure, it also comes with a lot of confusion. As such, I have decided to provide you with a guide that would ease you the stress that comes with selecting a school in a new environment. I want you to know that the quality of your child’s school is more important than what it would cost. All it takes is a little patience and some time.
The following are unusual steps to take to get your child(s) the best school in a new community.

• Inform Your Agent

This is the first thing to do when you are about to move to a new district. This is necessary so that the agent can be on the lookout for good schools alongside looking for a good house. The truth is that these agents are more familiar with the surroundings. They have other clients that have their children in some of these schools and could help you with asking around.
At this point, you should not allow your agent to choose for you. All you need them to do is to provide you with a list of the best schools around say about 3 -5 schools for you to make your choice from. Always remember the final decision is yours to make

• Search The Internet

While your agent is on the search for these schools, you should not relent in your search also. Take time out to carry out your research for the best school in that community. Certain parameters should guide your choice of school such as there academic and professional qualifications, the number of students that graduate every year, amount of time spent into the development of students, etc.

• Visit The Schools

The next thing to do is to visit the schools on your list physically. The intention behind this is to determine if these schools are who they claim to be. Do they have the best learning environment? Are they well equipped? Are the teachers the professionals they claim? Personally, for me, I would prefer you prepare the questions beforehand. Take time out to interact with the teachers and administrative officers. Ensure you know the goals and objective of the school. Do they align with what you are looking for? If they do, then that is the school you are looking for, and if not, you keep looking till you find the best choice.

Keep it in mind that you should not by any means choose any school because of pressure. Take your time out to look for the best school for your children. Remember it is the future of your children we are talking about.

Watch this for more information:

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