Voting is a right – and according to many, a duty for Americans to exercise when given the opportunity. In reality, voting should not be taken for granted just for being a right for every citizen in the country. Voting requires important steps be followed, and may even have restrictions depending on state laws.
Voting rights are established by the Constitution, noting that suffrage, the right to vote, cannot be denied on the grounds of race or color, sex, or age for any American citizens eighteen or older. Past that, state laws determine how voters make themselves eligible for elections in their state, county, and city. Throughout the country, many states have taken away voting rights from convicted felons, even permanently in many cases.
Valid forms of identification are often required by states to vote in-person on Election Day. Typically, this requires photo IDs like driver’s licenses, identification cards, or passports. If a potential voter does not have a valid photo ID in these states and tries to vote, they will either be denied or forced to show valid photo IDs within the next few weeks for their ballot to be counted. Other states may not require photo ID at all, accepting any potential voters with valid voter registration. While the rules vary by state, the rule of thumb for most voters in general elections is to make sure they’re registered a month before Election Day and preferably have some form of photo identification if they’re unsure of their state’s voter laws.
Ultimately, voting has a specific set of guidelines that need to be followed. Although a right granted to Americans through the Constitution, votes are only counted when the voter follows these guidelines.