Making Your Vote Count

by Anisa Majhi and Kathy Li, 2020–2021 Miss CEO Ambassadors

Miss CEO recently spoke with Pranavi Kethanaboyina, a third year public policy student at Stanford University and a bright light in the world of change. And we are also proud to share that Pranavi was the first ever Miss CEO Ambassador! Learn what Pranavi has to say about one of the biggest events this year: the 2020 US Election.

What’s Happening?

According to NPR, 550,000 mail-in votes were discounted during the primary elections earlier this year, many of which were because of preventable reasons. According to Pranavi, “It’s really scary to think about the idea that you might do everything right and your vote could still be discounted”. We all need to make sure we are equipped with the necessary knowledge to make our say a valid one in this upcoming election.

Tips to Remember

Does the amount of discounted votes surprise you? 550,000 is a huge number! Your voice matters and voting is how you can implement your ideas in order to serve your community. Here are some important tips to keep in mind regarding your ballot.

  1. Make sure you know how to obtain your ballot. Some states to automatically mail you one whereas others require you to request it.
  2. To check, go to https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/
  3. Sign the back of your ballot - you’d be surprised by how many people forget!
  4. Be consistent with your signature; when you receive your ballot, your signature will be checked to make sure it matches the signature they have on file (which tend to be the signatures on your Driver’s Licenses and State IDs)
  5. Mail your ballot in as early as possible to avoid it being received AFTER the deadline
  6. Check your email inbox and phone frequently to make sure you follow up on the status of your ballot
  7. Sometimes you may need to correct certain fields, such as your signature, in order for your vote to be counted

Younger Generation Action Items

Can’t vote yet but still interested in helping out? Here’s a list of things you can do:

  1. Get educated on your regional voting process and share with your friends and family. By posting tips and tricks to remember on your social media, you can reach a large audience previously uninformed.
  2. Sign up to phone bank with organizations like the Huntersville, North Carolina Phone Bank or Indivisible Phone Banking for 2020 Election. The age restriction is dependent on the organization you choose, so pick wisely and inform others.
  3. Become a poll worker at your local polling station (for students ages 16 and up). As individuals less likely to be immunocompromised, young people can help promote healthy and safe voting environment.

The Future of Voting

Compulsory voting is a system implemented in several countries where all eligible citizens are required to participate in upcoming elections. An example of this system’s effectiveness is the substantial increase in voter turnout in Australia and Belgium. According to Pranavi, though this idea may seem like the perfect one to mandate participation, we should be looking at more realistic options. One such option she advocates for is a National Voting Holiday. Pranavi goes on to explain how this execution would allow “particular populations like low income voters” to receive the additional support they need. With voting day becoming a holiday, voter turnout and awareness would increase especially for minority and underrepresented groups.

What to Learn More?

Read Pranavi’s article in The Stanford Daily where she and Eli Shi explore mail-in voting: https://www.stanforddaily.com/2020/09/21/re-approaching-voting-make-your-vote-count/

Watching more highlights from Miss CEO’s interview with Pranavi: https://youtu.be/J3DEP58sxbI