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4 Ways You Can Register to Vote in Less Than 5 Minutes

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Not registered to vote? Time is running out. On Tuesday, November 8, the U.S. will elect a new president—but most states require residents to register well before Election Day. If you’re super busy, rest assured: Getting authorized to cast your ballot doesn’t need to be a tedious or time-consuming process. Once you’ve confirmed your local deadline, consider one of the simple registration tactics below.

1. LOG IN TO SNAPCHAT.

Snapchat has partnered with TurboVote, a voter registration app launched by nonprofit Democracy Works, to check users’ eligibility to vote—and if they’re qualified, to register them. Sign in to the video and picture-sharing app, and you’ll see video ads for the process (starring Jimmy Fallon, The Rock, and other celebrities) between Snapchat's Stories and Discover pages. Swipe up, and you’ll be led to a voter registration mobile webpage within the app.

Snapchat’s partnership with TurboVote runs until October 7.

2. SEND A TEXT OR FACEBOOK MESSAGE.

Thanks to HelloVote—which bills itself as the first text message-based voter-registration tool—you can now register to vote by sending a text or Facebook message. Simply text 384-387 or go to m.me/hellovote in Facebook Messenger. You’ll be provided with a form requesting your name, mailing address, and voter eligibility information (which varies from state to state), and if your state allows instant registration, HelloVote will submit the electronic paperwork for you. If not, don’t sweat it: You’ll be mailed the form, along with a pre-addressed stamped envelope. Sign it, send it to your local Board of Elections, and voila!—you’re all set to vote this November.

3. CLICK ON A GOOGLE DOODLE.

This year, National Voter Registration Day falls on September 27. To celebrate the occasion, Google has rolled out a special new Google Doodle. Click on the Doodle, and you’ll be led to a page with instructions on how to register by mail, in person, or online, depending on each state’s individual guidelines. You’ll also be provided with voting requirements and registration deadlines.

4. SIGN IN TO FACEBOOK.

On Friday, September 23, Facebook introduced a four-day nationwide voting registration drive. If you haven't already taken advantage of it, you can still catch its tail end. Log in to your account, and you’ll see a "Vote Now" button at the top of your Newsfeed. It leads you to USA.gov, which, in turn, directs you to your state's online voter registration page. Once you’re all finished, you can update your status to say you’ve registered.

BONUS: HANG WITH THE CAST OF HAMILTON.

This way will likely take more than five minutes, but it might be the most exciting on this list. On Wednesday, September 28, some of the musical’s cast members will lead a voter registration event outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre in midtown Manhattan. Swing by between 5 and 7 p.m., and the actors—who have been trained by voter registration volunteers from The Hispanic Federation, a Latino nonprofit membership organization—will provide national registration forms and guide you through the process.

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Ralph Heimans/Buckingham Palace/PA Wire via Getty Images
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Pop Culture
The Cult of Prince Philip
Ralph Heimans/Buckingham Palace/PA Wire via Getty Images
Ralph Heimans/Buckingham Palace/PA Wire via Getty Images

For seven decades, Prince Philip has been one of the more colorful figures in Britain's Royal Family, prone to jarring remarks and quips about women, the deaf, and overweight children.

"You're too fat to be an astronaut," he once told a boy sharing his dream of space travel.

British media who delighted in quoting him are still lamenting the 96-year-old's recent retirement from public duties. But the people of the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu are likely to be optimistic he'll now have the time to join them: They worship him as a god and have based a religion on him.

Followers of the Prince Philip Movement, which started in the 1960s, believe that the prince was born to fulfill an ancient prophecy: that the son of an ancient mountain spirit would one day take the form of a pale-skinned man, travel abroad, marry a powerful lady, and eventually return to the island. When villagers saw the prince’s portrait, they felt the spirit in it, and when he visited Vanuatu in 1974, they were convinced.

Chief Jack Naiva, a respected warrior in the culture, greeted the royal yacht and caught sight of Philip on board. "I saw him standing on the deck in his white uniform," Naiva once said. "I knew then that he was the true messiah."

True believers assign large world movements to the machinations of Philip. They once claimed his powers had enabled a black man to become president of the United States and that his "magic" had assisted in helping locate Osama bin Laden. The community has corresponded with Buckingham Palace and even sent Philip a nal-nal, a traditional club for killing pigs, as a token of its appreciation. In return, he sent a portrait in which he’s holding the gift.

Sikor Natuan, the son of the local chief, holds two official portraits of Britain's Prince Philip in front of the chief's hut in the remote village of Yaohnanen on Tanna in Vanuatu.
TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images

The picture is now part of a shrine set up in Yaohnanen in Vanuatu that includes other photos and a Union flag. In May 2017, shortly after the Prince announced his retirement, a cyclone threatened the island—and its shrine. But according to Matthew Baylis, an author who has lived with the tribe, the natives didn't see this so much as a cause for concern as they did a harbinger of the prince's arrival so he can bask in their worship.

To date, Prince Philip has not announced any plans to relocate.

A version of this story ran in a 2012 issue of Mental Floss magazine.

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Screenshot via Mount Vernon/Vimeo
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History
The Funky History of George Washington's Fake Teeth
Screenshot via Mount Vernon/Vimeo
Screenshot via Mount Vernon/Vimeo

George Washington may have the most famous teeth—or lack thereof—in American history. But counter to what you may have heard about the Founding Father's ill-fitting dentures, they weren't made of wood. In fact, he had several sets of dentures throughout his life, none of which were originally trees. And some of them are still around. The historic Mount Vernon estate holds the only complete set of dentures that has survived the centuries, and the museum features a video that walks through old George's dental history.

Likely due to genetics, poor diet, and dental disease, Washington began losing his original teeth when he was still a young man. By the time he became president in 1789, he only had one left in his mouth. The dentures he purchased to replace his teeth were the most scientifically advanced of the time, but in the late 18th century, that didn't mean much.

They didn't fit well, which caused him pain, and made it difficult to eat and talk. The dentures also changed the way Washington looked. They disfigured his face, causing his lips to noticeably stick out. But that doesn't mean Washington wasn't grateful for them. When he finally lost his last surviving tooth, he sent it to his dentist, John Greenwood, who had made him dentures of hippo ivory, gold, and brass that accommodated the remaining tooth while it still lived. (The lower denture of that particular pair is now held at the New York Academy of Medicine.)

A set of historic dentures
George Washington's Mount Vernon

These days, no one would want to wear dentures like the ones currently held at Mount Vernon (above). They're made of materials that would definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth. The base that fit the fake teeth into the jaw was made of lead. The top teeth were sourced from horses or donkeys, and the bottom were from cows and—wait for it—people.

These teeth actually deteriorated themselves, revealing the wire that held them together. The dentures open and shut thanks to metal springs, but because they were controlled by springs, if he wanted to keep his mouth shut, Washington had to permanently clench his jaw. You can get a better idea of how the contraption worked in the video from Mount Vernon below.

Washington's Dentures from Mount Vernon on Vimeo.

There are plenty of lessons we can learn from the life of George Washington, but perhaps the most salient is this: You should definitely, definitely floss.

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