Voting as a Travel Nurse: How to Legally Cast Your Ballot
Voting is one of the hallmarks of our country, and voting decisions have the potential to shape the nation for years to come. However, only 56% of voting-age individuals actually voted in the 2016 presidential election. The United States falls behind many countries globally in regard to voter turnout, which may be attributed to the voluntary voting system and individual responsibility to register to vote.
As a travel nurse, you face more obstacles than most people when it comes to voting. If you aren’t sure how to cast your ballot during election time, don’t wait too long to sort it out. Missing registration deadlines and early voting and absentee ballot cutoffs can lead to losing your opportunity to vote.
How to navigate voting outside of your home state
The state in which you hold your permanent address is the state where you are allowed to vote. Unfortunately, travel nurses are often away from their home state and are unable to make it back in time to vote. But this does not mean you can’t vote. The answer you’re looking for is an absentee ballot.
Absentee voting allows you to vote by mail — you simply need to register using your permanent address, have the ballot sent to your current address, fill out the ballot, and send it back within the deadline. However, each state has different requirements for absentee votes, so it’s important to understand your home state’s rules.
Most states will allow you to register to vote online if you have not already registered. When you request an absentee ballot online, you will need to verify your residence. Usually, this requires you to enter your driver’s license number and/or upload a photo of your ID. Some states will also require you to specify the reason for voting absentee. Once you do this, you can enter your current address — and double check it is correct — then request the absentee ballot.
Make sure you pay attention to voter registration and absentee ballot submission deadlines. If you fail to register by your state’s deadline, you won’t be able to get a ballot, and if you miss the submission deadline, your vote will not be counted.
Once you receive the ballot, fill it out and mail it back according to the instructions. As long as you complete your ballot correctly and return it before the submission deadline, congrats, you’ve voted!
Your go-to voting checklist
Voting away from home is not as difficult as you might think. Here’s a quick checklist guide to get your vote in the system.
- Identify your state’s election office website.
- Verify the voter registration deadline.
- Have your ID available.
- Check if you are registered to vote, and register online if possible.
- Identify the “absentee voting” section of your state’s website.
- Fill out the online absentee ballot request and submit.
- Verify the absentee ballot submission deadline for your state.
- Wait to receive the ballot.
- Fill out the absentee ballot with your votes.
- Return the absentee ballot by mail.
- Sign up for future election reminders so you don’t miss another election.
- Take pride in the fact you’ve voted!
Many things can be difficult to achieve as a travel nurse, but voting doesn’t have to be one of them. To learn more about managing life as a travel nurse or how to become a travel health care provider, contact Health Providers Choice today.