Since living in Oklahoma, I’ve found one of the absolute best ways to vote is by getting registering for an absentee ballot. Oklahoma has pretty lax laws on this sort of thing so it’s easier than you think. In addition, having an absentee ballot doesn’t mean I mail in my vote. I still go to the poll, hand in my absentee ballot so they can destroy it, and vote like a normal downtrodden citizen.
What do I even vote for:
Oklahoma is a closed primary state. What this means is as a registered Independent, I’m only allowed to vote on a subset of items. Having a ballot sent to me when I’m allowed to vote is a great time saver vs meandering the UI of a government website. It’s also really handy when you’re talking to a politician to let them know that you’re not allowed to vote and let them move on to the proper class of citizenry.
When it comes to Federal politics, people will often lie to you and tell you that your vote matters. What they should really be telling you is that your vote only matters when it comes to local laws that actually affect you. For example, in Oklahoma, a 1% tax increase can pass with as little as +/– of 8 votes. While talking about if flag burning is treasonous is quite fun, taking a few moments to control how your income is distributed in your community is likely more patriotic.
Being able to see my entire ballot before voting day lets me take 45 minutes or so to independently research information on the actual proposals on the ballot. Previous to this method, while I knew about some of the popular issues due to high dollar campaigns trying to blugeon my vote, there would always be a few items on the ballot I had no idea about. I found this incredibly disheartening. The beauty of the absentee ballot is that I’m not longer surprised, second guessing, and leaving blank ballots because I can’t quite parse the ridiculous lawyer speak.