Photo: Stax Museum

Get Ready to Vote, Memphis!

Every four years we hear the same thing over and over again…“Go vote! Every vote matters!”

But this year those words hit differently; they hit harder and sit heavier, and in a month, we will decide who will be the 46th President of the United States. And that matters. It matters BIG TIME. 

And since it matters so much, we want to make sure you’re ready to exercise your civic duty:

If you haven’t already registered to vote, make sure to do so by October 5th, and study up on your candidates so you’re already prepared!

You cannot just walk in on Election Day and cast a ballot; if only it were that easy.  You can register to vote online if you have a Tennessee Driver’s License or a Tennessee Department of Safety ID. The 5 minutes it takes you to answer these questions will no doubt be worth the time, for real. If internet access is the issue hindering you, or someone you know, you may register to vote at any Memphis Library location, and they will deliver it for you!

Speaking of the Memphis Public Libraries, they’ve put together a guide page for you to get to know all of the candidates. Do your research!

If you have more questions about registering to vote, check out VoteRiders, a voter ID education and assistance site that’ll help you through just about every question you can think of. 

Help others exercise their right to vote.

Now that you’re registered, it’s time to talk about what you can do between now and Election Day. A great next step is helping others through registering to vote. Ask your friends, ask your mom, ask your neighbor if they are registered—and if not, show them how easy it is! 

Another way you can help is by working at a polling location! The Shelby County Election Commission needs paid poll workers and absentee ballot counters in order to deliver a free and fair election with accurate results. You could earn up to $190 for your services—ain’t that a nice chunk of change? Want to find out more? Register for the Shelby Votes Virtual Job Fair on Thursday, October 8th, at 10:30 AM via Zoom. The job fair will be hosted by the Shelby County Election Commission and the Office of Mayor Lee Harris.

When the time comes, Vote like your life depends on it!

Election Day isn’t until November 3rd, 2020, but early voting kicks off October 14th and goes through October 29th.

Early voting locations and times can be found here.

Now, come Election Day, Tuesday November 3rd, you will need to show up to your pre-designated voting location. This information will be listed on your voter registration card or you can locate your voting location here.

If you are worried about COVID-19 risks, you should know that in the August election, voters gave high marks to the polling locations for the extreme commitment to sanitary, safe conditions. Also, it is important to remember that your employer HAS to give you paid time off to vote. The law in Tennessee is as follows:

Voting Leave

Tennessee law requires employers to provide employees with a reasonable amount of paid time off to vote up to three (3) hours. 

To be eligible, an employee:must not have three (3) or more hours before their shift begins or after their shift ends in which to vote while polls are open, and request the paid voting leave by twelve o’clock (12:00) noon on the day prior to the vote or election.

TN Stat. 2-1-106

If you are from Shelby County, but will be unable to vote in person due to illness or because you are away at school, in the military, etc., you can request an absentee ballot by October 16th and mail it in yourself. 

Lastly, be on the lookout for FREE or DISCOUNTED transportation to the polls! 

Uber has already released a statement saying, “On Election Day, we will help people find their polling location within the Uber app, and offer discounted rides to and from the polls.” 

However you decide to vote, make sure to get it done. We’ll see you at the polls on November 3rd!

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