First Time Voters: How to Vote, Where to Vote

If you’ve just turned eighteen or if you’re voting for the first time, voting can seem like a complicated process. The good news is that registering to vote is the hardest part. It can be confusing to get a hold of the right forms, especially for students who want to vote in a different state or county than the one in which they attend school. Submitting an incomplete or incorrect application could delay the registration process, and deadlines are easy to miss for first-time voters who aren’t paying attention.

After registering to vote, the most complex part of the process is learning about the candidates and their positions. Most people already know what values and stances they want represented, so navigating the ballot and finding the right candidate is the next step. To help with this, Hendrix will host Know Your Ballot on October 29. It will be held in Mills A from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Dean Wiltgen will teach voters about the newly revamped voting process, and local candidates will speak about their campaigns. After three-minute introductions, all are invited to stay for a meet-and-greet with the candidates. Know Your Ballot is a perfect opportunity for first-time and veteran voters alike.

First-time voters might not realize that, beyond picking a candidate for each position, there are also issues listed on the ballot to vote for or against. In the Arkansas midterms this year, there are five different issues. Their concerns are varied, including problems like civil lawsuits, voter identification, term limits, and minimum wage. While the issues will be explained on the ballot, it’s better for voters to do their own research and form an opinion before they reach the polls. Dr. Jay Barth, Distinguished Professor of Politics, will present the issues on the ballot and outline arguments for and against each of them at the Know Your Ballot event.

On the day of the election, Arkansas voters should bring proper documentation with them to the ballots. Luckily for Hendrix students voting in Faulkner County, there will be a polling site set up in Worsham from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on November 6—one of twenty-six sites in the county. If a voter can’t make it to the polls on November 6, they can still cast their ballot through the early voting process two weeks before Election Day. Voters registered in a county other than Faulkner who cannot make it to the polling sites should cast an absentee ballot.

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