Copyright 2004

Don’t let the stress of election day cancel yourvote. The elections on Nov. 2, 2004, give you achance to help decide who will be the nextpresident of the USA as well as many state andlocal officials.

Many people fail to vote because they are notprepared ahead of time, and the stress of gettinginformation and making decisions at the lastminute is too much to add to otherwise hecticschedules.

Here are five ways to de-stress election day:


a. Find out where to vote - Make sure you’regoing to the right place. Even if you’ve voted atthe same place for years, it's a good idea toconfirm the site by calling your county Board ofElections or the County Clerk. The information isalso available at http://www.declareyourself.comIf your schedule is tight, vote at mid morning ormid afternoon to avoid the lines.

b. Find out if you are registered - visit or callyour County Clerk to confirm that you areregistered to vote.

c. Find out who’s on the ballot - The Board ofElections can give you a sample ballot and thename and contact information of the party chair.You can call them to get additional informationabout who is on the ballet.

d. Find out how will you vote - Ask whetheryou’ll be voting by electronic or mechanicalvoting machine, punch cards, or mark the ballot.Ask for a sample ballot.


a. Ask party headquarters for information on thecandidates. Ask friends and associates for theiropinion.

b. Read through candidates remarks soyou can make informed decisions

c. Watch the news or research candidate web sitesfor information about candidates who appeal to you.

d. You can find out who’s who at


a. Make sure you know the route to your votingplace. Arrange for transportation.

b. Schedule plenty of time so you are notfrustrated by waiting in line

c. Introduce yourself to others in line insteadof standing silently waiting for your turn -- youcan’t try to persuade others how to vote in thatline, but you can meet your neighbors.

d. If your schedule permits, make voting afestive occasion and meet others for breakfast orlunch afterward.

e. Arrange to help someone who can’t make it tothe polls on their own.


Make sure you understand workplace rules forvoting. Will you be allowed to take time off workor take an extended lunch hour, or will you haveto go before or after office hours (consider anabsentee ballot)?


Find out rules for absentee voting in case you’llbe away from home or unable to vote in person forsome other reason on election day. In place ofthe mail-in form, some states permit voting at thecounty courthouse before election day. You canget the typical absentee ballot by calling yourElection Board or County Clerk for the applicationform. From the internet, you can download anapplication by entering your zip code at:

Every citizen who is 18 years of age is entitledto vote unless they are imprisoned, paroled for afelony, or mentally incompetent as judged by acourt of law. Some states require voters to be 18at least 30 days prior to elections. You must votein the state where you are a legal resident.

"Here’s the bottom line: If you don’t vote,someone else is deciding your future for you. It’sthat simple. If you have an opinion about the costof college tuition, jobs, the economy, or tons ofother laws and issues that affect you, then you’realready involved. Now take advantage of your rightto determine your future. What are you waitingfor?" (From Declareyourself's Guide for First-timeVoters -- get the 16 page pdf file and other voter tools at

Get information on others stress busters atauto

Author's Bio: 

Dale Collie ( speaker andformer US Army Ranger, CEO, and professor at WestPoint. Selected by "Fast Company" as one ofAmerica's Fast 50 innovative leaders. Author"Winning Under Fire: Turn Stress into Success theUS Army Way," (McGraw Hill). F`r`e`e CourageBuilders Newsletter by