List of Resources to Help You Vote in the Coming US Election
From the Editors:
In one of the most important elections of our lifetimes, we must ensure that every American has the right to vote. Because of the pandemic, many voting rules have changed this year, so make sure you have a voting plan in place.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Early Voting period is now available in 43 states and the District of Columbia, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures. You can check here but it’s best to double check with your state for any recent changes to early voting in your state.
The options include mail-in voting, early in-person voting or in-person absentee voting. And 20 states, plus D.C., include weekend early voting options for those who cannot take time off work to vote on weekdays
Voting in person:
Make a plan for voting safely. Look at a sample ballot ahead of time to prepare. Bring a mask and hand sanitizer. If you can, try going midmorning, when the lines tend to be shorter.
It’s possible your polling site may have moved because of fewer poll workers — check with your local board of elections for more information.
Bring whatever documentation or identification your state requires.
If you’re in line when the polls close, you will still be able to vote.
- The key difference between in-person early voting and Election Day voting is that where you vote is not necessarily tied to your precise address, but rather what jurisdiction you live in. Like Election Day voters, in-person early voters will need to bring to the polls whatever identification is required locally.
Once you’re at an early voting site, there won’t be much difference between voting early and voting on Election Day. Depending on how busy it is, it may take poll workers slightly longer to check in voters.
- You can vote even if you cannot get to the polling place on Election Day.
When is my absentee ballot due?
For NY voters: you must postmark, apply online, email or fax completed application for the General Absentee ballot by October 27, 2020. You may apply in-person by November 2, 2020. Ballots will be mailed beginning on/after September 18, 2020.
Voting in person if you’ve requested an absentee ballot
If you requested an absentee ballot by mail but did not receive it, or if you received an absentee ballot but chose to vote in person anyway, you may face slightly more scrutiny when checking in at a polling place. Poll workers may have to enter data to confirm that you haven’t already submitted an absentee ballot, which could take extra time.
- For both in-person early voting and Election Day voting, be sure to check the hours your polling places will be open. Vote.org has links to each state’s websites to find voting hours — for both Election Day and early voting — and locations to do both or request an absentee ballot.
By-Mail Absentee Voting- How to Cast an Absentee Ballot
- Once your receive the ballot, mark the ballot according to your choices for each office following the instructions on the ballot
- Once you have completed marking your ballot fold it up and place it in the Security Envelope. (This envelope will have a place for your signature.)
- Sign and date the outside of the Security Envelope.
- Seal the Security Envelope.
- Place the Security Envelope in the Return Envelope. (This envelope will have the return address of your county Board of Elections on the outside and should have a logo that reads, “Official Election Mail”) If you live in Manhattan mail it to: NY Board of Elections: 200 Varick Street, 10 Fl New York, NY 10014
- Seal the Return Envelope.
- You may return the ballot in any of the following ways:
- Put it in the mail ensuring it receives a postmark no later than November 3rd.
- Bringing it to the County Board of Elections Office no later than November 3rd by 9pm.
- Bringing it to an early voting poll site between October 24th and November 1st
- Bringing it to a poll site on November 3rd by 9pm.
Track your ballot online
Many states, including Wisconsin, allow you to track the status of your ballot request online. You can find out when your request was received, approved and processed, as well as when a ballot was mailed to you. The same websites track when your ballot was received by your local elections administrator. It may not provide the same satisfaction as an “I Voted” sticker, but it is affirmation that your ballot has been received in the right place.
Follow the rules for your ballot to count
- Be sure to follow the rules about returning your completed ballot. Do the best you can to make sure your signature on the ballot matches (or is at least consistent with) a signature on file with your voter registration. Some states may enforce laws requiring those signatures to match for ballots to be counted. This is important: Signature matching is crucial in states where it is required.
- The hard part may be returning your ballot.
- There have been a lot of questions about the Postal Service’s ability to handle tens of millions of mail ballots this fall. States have different rules about when ballots must be returned: In some, they must be received by the poll closing time on Election Day to count; in others, an Election Day postmark is sufficient.
The surest way to deliver your absentee ballot is to return it in an authorized drop box maintained by your local elections administrator. In states like Washington and Colorado that have a history of mailing ballots to all voters, this is how the vast majority of ballots are returned.
Don’t delay returning your ballot
If you can’t get to a drop box, the best course of action is to put your ballot back in the mail sooner than later. This avoids Postal Service delays and increases the chances that your ballot will arrive where it needs to be before Election Day — avoiding any questions about its postmark.
Become an Election Day poll worker.
- An election worker is an essential component to every polling place location on Election Day. That “essential” status has taken on a new meaning in 2020—as polling locations in states throughout the nation threaten to close due to COVID-19 cases on the rise and shortages of willing workers.
- Click here to find out more information on how to become a poll worker.
Head to Vote.Org for any further questions. Vote and make sure your voice is heard!