Click on the image above for a special invitation to student voters.
Dear Students of Northern Essex Community College:
Our nation’s next General Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020, just three weeks from today, and your vote matters.
When I was a student like you, I wanted to be a journalist.
I studied writing. I was the editor of my campus newspaper. And my favorite quote was, “I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Even today, in my “Zoom office,” there is a picture of a famous Norman Rockwell painting just over my shoulder called “Freedom of Speech.”
It depicts a New England farmer, standing up at a town hall meeting, just speaking his mind.
There has never been, in my lifetime, a more challenging moment for free speech than right now.
Battle lines are drawn.
“Fake news” seems to be everywhere.
And strong opinions are often shouted down or shamed by the other side.
But it is still vital to speak your mind.
To be a part of this American Democracy.
And one of the biggest and best ways you can do that is to vote.
Here is how:
Step 1: Register to Vote
In order to be eligible to vote in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, you must be at least 18 years old and a citizen of the United States.
In Massachusetts, you can use the Online Voter Registration System to check your voter registration status and register to vote online. The deadline to register to vote in Massachusetts is ten days before the date of the election (October 24 for the upcoming November 3 General Election)
In New Hampshire, you may register to vote at your town or city clerk’s office or, if you are unable to do so, may request a voter registration form by mail. Visit the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Register to Vote site for more information. In New Hampshire, you can register to vote any time, including at your polling location on election day.
Step 2: Make a Voting Plan
Decide now how you are going to cast your vote.
In Massachusetts, you can vote in person on election day, you can vote early in person, or you can vote early by mail.
- If you plan to vote in person on election day, Tuesday, November 3, you can find your local polling place here.
- If you plan to vote early in person, here is a list of Early Voting Dates and Locations near you.
- If you plan to vote by mail, you should submit this 2020 Vote by Mail Application no later than October 20, one week from today.
In New Hampshire, you can vote in person on election day, or you can vote early by mail with an absentee ballot. New Hampshire does not offer early in-person voting.
- If you plan to vote in person on election day, you can find your local polling place here.
- If you plan to vote using an absentee ballot, note that New Hampshire has special requirements for approving your absentee ballot application that may take extra time. You can click here to download an application and learn more about the process.
Step 3: Research Your Ballot
Who are the candidates and what are the specific issues in your voter district? Before you cast your vote, research the people running for office and be sure you understand each issue you are voting on.
Here are a few nonpartisan web sites that present helpful information without making endorsements. Learn all you can, and make your own decision:
Ballotpedia: Compare candidates and issues and look at sample ballots that are specific to your zip code.
League of Women Voters of Massachusetts: Provides information on how to vote, compares candidates and issues.
Best Colleges Student Voting Guide: Explores major issues with an emphasis on how they affect students.
Step 4: Vote!
This year, whatever your party, whatever your interests, whatever issues compel you the most, whatever candidate you favor, do your part, speak your mind, express your freedom of speech.
After you’ve taken the first few steps above, be sure to take the most important one: Cast your ballot and vote.
Because your vote matters.