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8 Things That Make Voting Harder Than It Has To Be

The solutions may surprise you.

1. Registration deadlines

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Registration deadlines often catch voters off guard because they can be a month or two before the actual election. Places like Sweden have high voter turnout in part because everyone is automatically registered to vote by the Swedish Tax Administration.

2. Voter ID Laws

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In some states, voters don't have to register to vote — they just show up with a valid ID on election day. It sounds pretty sweet, but currently in places like North Dakota ID's need to provide a valid street address, something Native American reservations may not necessarily be assigned.

3. Snail mail

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Some states allow residents to register online, but many still rely on regular old paper mail to get the job done. This can cause confusion for new voters when it comes to mailing in registration or an absentee ballot by a certain day, especially in our increasingly digital world. In states like Arizona, it's a crime to mail in someone else's ballot, even with that person's permission.

4. Voter roll purges

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Some state purge voter rolls of certain names if they haven't voted in a while or fail to confirm their address in a timely manner, which can lead to conflicts on election day. In New York, the New York City Board of Elections purged about 200,000 voters from its lists illegally.

5. Voting times

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Elections are always held on weekdays, when most people have work. Though polls try to open early and close late, other countries like India, Germany and New Zealand host their elections as holidays or on weekends, making it easier on busy would-be voters.

6. Exact match laws

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In Georgia, where voter ID laws are instituted, there's an exact match policy, where information on IDs and voter applications must match exactly. An errant dash or a typo is enough to delay an application, and so it has for 53,000 Georgian voters.

7. Outdated laws

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Sometimes, technology and legislation butt heads. That's what happened this year when tried to register thousands of Texans through its online service, which allowed them to sign their forms with a picture of their signature. The Secretary of State rejected these applications, but others maintain photographed signatures are allowed under current phrasing in the Texas Election Code.

8. Polling site closures

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Polling sites can close for a host of reasons, but if due notice isn't given, sudden closures can cause confusion for voters on Election Day. One study found that of 381 counties, 43% had closed polling sites since 2013.

9. If these sound like barriers to you, there's a lot you can do!

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Policies like these can lead to voter disenfranchisement, keeping people who want to vote away from the polls. But you can help to make change:

* Vote: Ironically, one of the best ways to change policy is to elect better policy-makers. If you're able to vote, you can help support officials who want to see more people exercising their right to vote.

* Stay informed: When you sign up with services like Turbo Vote, you can get text reminders about upcoming elections and registration deadlines.

* Write your representatives: Let them know that making voting easier for everyone is something that's important to you.

* Get involved: There's strength in numbers. Local political clubs, grassroots organizers, and activists all want people to be politically engaged. They may already have programs in place to help voters out, and joining a team is a great way to maximize your impact.

Get ready for Election Day by claiming your 50% off Lyft ride to the polls here!

Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed

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