We’re not going to lose this election this year. We cannot. It’s that simple. Ensuring victory means being diligent in every aspect of your vote: make sure you vote the right way! :) and make sure that your vote is counted. YES! magazine has put together this 12 step guide to safeguarding your vote. Please complete it, and report back in the comments. I’m serious. (also bookmark the voter suppression wiki)

It took me 9 minutes to complete and read their steps, and I was moving slowly. 10 minutes is a minor investment to ensure your vote will be counted.

BEFORE ELECTION DAY

1. Check your registration. Even if you think you’re registered, you may not be. Check online at www.CanIVote.org.

2. Vote now. Check if early voting is possible in your state. If you’re voting by mail, check carefully where you need to sign, how to seal the envelope, and how to mark the ballot. And note: Some ballots require extra postage.

3. Practice your vote. Electronic voting machines can be difficult to use. Verifiedvoting.org is preparing links to video demos of how to vote on the machine you will find at your polling station. If you’ll be using a paper ballot, check out the sample included in your voter pamphlet.

4. Find out who’s in charge. Make a phone list of your county and state election officials—it may save valuable time on Election Day if you need to get registration verification or other information.

Jack Turner Bonus: Put this phone number into your cellphone: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)

More important notes below the fold. Please read the rest, and report back on your pre-election day safeguarding activities. For realz.

More steps from YES magazine

ON ELECTION DAY

5. Vote early. Avoid the frustration of long lines. Also, if you encounter problems, you’ll have time to sort them out and may be able to help others.

6. Take your government-issued ID and your cell phone, if you have one. If you have problems, or see problems, call a hotline immediately (see point #9). You may not need ID to vote, but it’s best to have it. If you have trouble with your registration, ask for a provisional ballot.

7. Avoid Straight Party Voting, if it’s an option in your state. Vote for each race individually, even if it takes a little longer.

8. Verify your vote. If you’re voting on an electronic voting machine, check the review screen to make sure it reflects your vote. If the machine produces a paper record, check as you go along that everything is working correctly. If not, speak to a polling attendant—don’t leave until you’re sure your vote has been properly recorded.

9. Document and report. If you encounter difficulties, or see others experiencing difficulties (excessive lines, voter harassment, malfunctioning machines, etc.), make a detailed record. Get all the facts you can—location, names, specific problem.

The best way to report problems is to call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683), which has volunteer lawyers in 15 locations standing by to provide rapid-response assistance. You can also contact your party of choice. We have more suggestions here.

AFTER ELECTION DAY

10. Call your candidate. If there are questions about an election result, urge your candidate to ask for an audit. Ask how you can help.

11. Call your election officials. If you have concerns, let your county and state election officials know, and monitor their response. Ask them not to certify the election before all challenges and recounts are finished. And send a copy of your message to your local newspaper editor. If you’re confident about the election result, thank the officials for a difficult job well done.

INTO THE FUTURE

12. Work for fair, transparent elections. 66% of Americans don’t trust the electronic voting machines many of us will be voting on this November. Join the movement for election reform in between elections. Use our YES! Tools to find out how.

My Pre-Election Safeguarding Report

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where do i live: New York City, NY (county of New York)

can i vote: yes.i am registered to vote and my status is active!

can i vote early: no. there is no early voting in my state

how will i be voting. can i see the ballot: my entire state uses mechanical lever machines. I cannot preview the ballot

my local election official to contact in case of problems with phone number added to my cell

Mirian Colden
Phone (212) 886-2126
Fax (646) 638-1967
Email Address: mcolden@boe.nyc.ny.us

How else to report problems on election day:

Put these numbers in your phone, and call if you have any problems. 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (spanish 1-888-839-8682)

Follow Twitter Vote Report on twitter and at its website.

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Now, really, complete the first four steps (plus my bonus step of recording numbers in your cell), and report back in the comments.

I’m serious people! Ten minutes.

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