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How to Register to Vote, with Conrad Anker
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Care about the outdoors? Your vote matters more than ever. Here, Wes Siler and legendary mountain climber Conrad Anker walk through the first step: registering to vote.
WES SILER: I'm here with mountain climber, Conrad Anker today. And we're going to show you how to register to vote.
WES SILER: Conrad, why is voting so important?
CONRAD ANKER: Wes, great question. Welcome to my house. Welcome to my gear room.
WES SILER: Thank you.
CONRAD ANKER: So why do we vote? Well, these people gave their lives up for us to have the opportunity to vote. It's the foundation of democracy. And if you want to have a say in your government, you need to participate. And the entry to this is signing up and following through and then voting on your local, regional, and national elections.
WES SILER: But surely, my vote as an individual can't count in such a big country of people.
CONRAD ANKER: Well, that's one of the popular misconceptions is that your vote doesn't count. It does. Everyone has a say in their government, and we start by making sure that you're signed up, you're registered to vote, and have a part of it. So don't give up and say oh, my vote doesn't count. It won't count if you don't vote. But if you get out and you make a vote, you've made yourself known and you are participating in our democracy.
WES SILER: All right, so I want to vote in the fall.
CONRAD ANKER: Yep.
WES SILER: What's my first step?
CONRAD ANKER: Well, you can vote in the primary. So right around the corner, you can start by voting, which is probably in your state and county, there's an opportunity to vote anywhere between April and June. But the big election is the federal election which takes place the beginning of November. So your first step if you want to see if you're still on the voting rolls-- and that's an important step-- is look up vote.gov.
So right here, you can see register to vote. And it'll give you all the steps to go through there. It's a really straightforward application, vote.gov. You can access it on your handheld computer, look up where you're at. You might have moved, you might have gone to a different state, you might have moved to a different city. It's up to you to make sure that you're on the polls to register to vote. And if you've been removed from the polls, speak up and make sure that you are on the polls.
WES SILER: And that's why it's so important even if you have voted in the past, just to go ahead and go to vote.gov and check your registration, make sure it's up-to-date, and make sure you are eligible come November.
CONRAD ANKER: Great, great reminder, Wes. Always be dialed in on that.
WES SILER: So registering to vote is simple. No matter who you are, go to vote.gov and check your registration. If you need to register, depending on where you live, you might be able to do it online. And if not, you can do it at your local courthouse. If you need to do that, you'll need photo ID like a driver's license and then proof of address like an electrical bill or a bank statement.
CONRAD ANKER: So if that's you and you want to register to vote, go to vote.gov. You can also do this online. And if you go to the courthouse, bring a picture ID and proof of address. The key part of climbing is being prepared and getting an early start. 15 minutes early in the day is worth an hour late in the day. So using that same axiom, you need to get out and check to make sure that you are registered to vote. Find out in your local community. Check out vote.gov and get on it. We all need to be present this coming November.