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The Lowdown on Voting, with Conrad Anker

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Wes Siler and the legendary alpinist explain why your vote matters and how to make it count. Not registered yet? Watch how to do that here.

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Video Transcript

WES SILER: I'm here with legendary mountain climber Conrad Anker. And we're going to show you how to vote in the election this November. 

CONRAD ANKER: It's pretty key, you have to get out and vote. It's just like tying in. 


CONRAD ANKER: You're not climbing unless you're tied in. You're not living unless you vote. 

WES SILER: And it matters this year more than ever. 


CONRAD ANKER: So here I am, I'm researching the possible candidates. What is one of the better ways I can find out more about each individual candidate? 

WES SILER: So, it's important we find objective sources for this information. Ballotpedia is a great one. As you were saying earlier, going to your local courthouse and picking up an information pamphlet helps. And just remaining informed, consuming your local media, consuming your local newspaper, your local newspaper's website, local radio, things like that, are going to really tune you into the issues that you may not be aware of in this omnipresent presidential campaign. There's going to be local stuff that matters in your life, directly, that you can really influence with your vote. 

CONRAD ANKER: There we go. One of the tricky things is if you are set up for absentee voting, which I am, because I'm traveling, and I've been on expedition, is that you have to confirm that you're still on the voting list, that you are an absentee voter. So if you show up to vote in person and you haven't asked for your absentee ballot, then they might disqualify that vote that you have there. Conversely, if you haven't asked, requested an absentee ballot, and you are out of town, and you miss the election day, then your vote goes nowhere. 

WES SILER: Right. 

CONRAD ANKER: Because you didn't vote. 

WES SILER: So it's important to get on that ahead of time. 


WES SILER: And I. Also want to note that if you go to a polling place, and for some reason, they ask you to cast a provisional ballot, and you don't feel that that is the right way to do it, you can go to a courthouse, you can go to government facility, and actually vote there. It might be a longer line, but sometimes you can actually cast a real ballot there and not a provisional one if the polling place isn't letting you. 

CONRAD ANKER: Yep, a great point on that is find out where your polling place are. 

WES SILER: Again, 

CONRAD ANKER: They're there. And show up. Thank the people that are volunteering their time to be part of our democracy. This is an integral part of it. And it's really important that we get out and vote. Because where I look at it, the prism through which I vote is the environment, and the atmosphere, quality of life, education, health care. So I look at a lot of those variety of different areas and how might a candidate be part of that. 

But this is climbing gear. I go climbing. I want to get out and go ice climbing. So someone that understands what I do and realizes that with a shorter winter, that climate is an important part of our election decision, that I can identify that candidate and get out there. 

WES SILER: And how do you find that information? 

CONRAD ANKER: A variety of ways you can find the information. One of the best ways is to go to the county courthouse. They will have a blue sheet, so to say, of all the candidates and their positions on there. And so that's fairly uniform and standard. Don't rely on 4 and 1/2 inches of glass with some self-populating algorithm that's going to cater to your individual tastes. Get out there and research. Find out exactly where your candidate stands, what their background history is for and where they're at. 

And by knowing who you are when you vote, if they do get an office, you then have permission and responsibility to go let your voice be known. Write letters, stop in, let them know how you feel about things. Because this is our government. It's our time. Moreover, it's our tax dollars being put to use. And so if you want input, you start by voting. 

WES SILER: So this is how you vote. Make sure that you're registered. Make sure you know if you have an absentee or an in-person ballot. If you have absentee, you need to cast that ahead of time. If you an in-person, you need to show up. Make sure you show up. Take your driver's license, take a proof of address just in case, even if they don't ask you for it. You don't want any problems on voting day. And allow plenty of time. It's the most important civic action that you engage in. Make sure you show up and make sure you do it. Conrad agrees. 

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