Avoid Election Day drama

Photo by Marc BaptistePhoto by Marc BaptisteThe 2008 epic presidential campaign is coming to a close, and you want to be damn sure your vote gets counted. Cosmo explains how to prevent a political faux pas, so you can rock the vote on Election Day.

First of All: You're Registered, Right?
Although voting laws differ slightly from state to state, there is one simple rule: If you aren't registered you can't vote. Find out what the deadline to register in your state is here. Can't remember if you updated your registration? Better to check now than be sorry later.

Beat the Crowd
Thanks to the historic nature of this year's election, officials are anticipating record turnout and long lines at the polls. If waiting for hours outside of a federal building doesn't sound like your idea of a Super Tuesday, find out if you can take advantage of early voting in your state.

Find Your Place
Finding your polling location is just one more thing that's been made easier by Google. Type your address into this Google Maps' Election 2008 tool to locate and get directions to your polling place.

Get Carded
It's a good idea to take your voter card and a photo ID (such as a driver's license or passport) when you go to cast your vote. Don't stress if you haven't received your voter card in the mail by Election Day; your name will be on the roll at the polls. In the worst-case scenario that your name didn't make the list, ask an election volunteer for a provisional ballot that will be tallied once your registration is confirmed.

Do Your Homework
Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin aren't the only politicians vying for your vote. "People who don't prepare are going to feel confused when they look at the list of candidates," says Adelaide Elm, senior adviser for the nonpartisan organization Project Vote Smart. Read the bios of candidates running for office in your state and local elections by entering your zip code here.

Vote Even if You're MIA
Voting by absentee ballot is allowed in every state as long as you request to do so by the deadline. (Many deadlines have now passed.) If you have your absentee ballot, don't forget to send it back by the close of polls on Nov. 4. In other words, send it right now.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.