What to know when casting a ballot

OSWEGO, N.Y. — The United States General Election provides an opportunity for many U.S. citizens to exercise one of the most sought after rights in American history — the right to vote. 

“I think that voting absolutely matters, for sure,” Professor of American Government and Politics, Josh Plencner, said when discussing the importance of voting with Oswego Now.

As citizens are asked to cast a ballot on all levels of government, it grants the opportunity to practice self-democracy. 

“We tend to think about as like the most important or consequential opportunity for citizens to govern themselves and hold public officials accountable for their actions,” Plencner said. 

Presidential campaigning garnered most of the attention this election year, but following local, state, and congressional campaigns can be just as important. 

“Turning your attention to local candidates and campaigns and races, can help shape in really real direct terms how you experience government,” Plencner said. “That can be a vehicle for changing not only what government does, but your outlook on government.”

When it comes to casting a ballot, Plencer also said voters should understand there is no correct or right way to vote. 

“You’re going to have to learn as a voter how to manage your own way through, your own preferences, and how those preferences can be expressed at these different offices,” Plencner said. 

This advice can be relevant to all voters, especially to those who may be casting a ballot during such an unprecedented time. 

“I struggled with registering to vote and figuring out how I wanted to vote,” first time voter Rachel Godden said. 

Godden decided to vote by mail, but said she isn’t sure if that will be her preferred method next election. 

Voting process aside, Godden stresses the importance of exercising the right to vote in general. 

“Regardless of who you vote for, make sure you’re voting,” Godden said.