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Make a Plan to Vote This Election Season

The politicians in power want to pick and choose who can vote and how votes will be counted this election. That means it’s more important than ever to turn out — either by voting early before Election Day, or by voting on Election Day before the polls close.  

We won't let fear stop us from turning out in record numbers and making sure our votes are counted. The United States has always held elections and upheld the results, even in times of great crisis. We held successful presidential elections amid the Civil War, the Great Depression, and both world wars. 

Now it's our turn to prove that nothing — not even this pandemic or voter suppression — will stand in your way of voting if you are able to vote. The best way to ensure your vote gets counted is to make a plan to vote.

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How to Vote in Every State

How to Vote in Every State

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you. Here’s how to make a step-by-step plan to vote in the 2020 Election.

First Step:

Register to Vote

The United States doesn’t automatically register people to vote. See if you’re registered. If you’re not, register now.

When you register online, you’ll need to enter your driver's license number or the last four digits of your social security number. You’ll also need to either submit a photo of your signature online, or print and mail your signed registration form.

Take inspiration from former First Lady Michelle Obama: She called on Americans to vote early, ahead of the election — including voting by mail.

Spread the word… Make sure your friends, families and communities are registered, know their rights and are fully prepared to vote by mail this year or vote early in person.

Michelle Obama

 

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Here are 3 other ways you can register to vote:

In-Person Voter Registration

  • Many states offer in-person voter registration at local boards of elections, public libraries, high schools, or other government agencies. About 10 states actually REQUIRE in-person registration, and don’t offer it online.

Voter Registration at the DMV

Voter registration at the DMV should be available in every state. If you’re applying for or renewing your driver’s license at the Department of Motor Vehicles, ask how you can register to vote or update your registration while you’re there.

Same Day

  • In most states, voters must register by a deadline prior to Election Day. But 21 states and D.C. offer same-day registration.

    Check your state’s Election Day registration rules, including ID requirements and locations. Some same-day registration takes place at town clerk's offices or other locations, not at your polling place.

3 Ways to Vote

1. Early In-Person;

2. Absentee By Mail; and

3. At the Polls on Election Day

If you’re voting absentee by mail or voting early in person, do so today or as soon as you possibly can. And if you’re voting at your polling place on Election Day, try to get there in the morning.

3 Steps to Vote Early, in Person

If your state has an early voting period, the process is the same as voting on Election Day. The only difference is that it might not be at your usual polling station, and it will — of course — happen before Election Day.

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1. Check Availability

Check the chart on Vote.org to see if your state offers early, in-person voting.

The chart shows the dates in which early in-person voting is available. Usually, the early voting period is for a few weeks ahead of Election Day.

2. Find Your Local Election Office

Enter your location to find the early voting center in your city or county. The early voting center is almost always located within your county election office. 

Check the operating hours of the early voting center. Mark your calendar and plan a specific time to visit. Give yourself plenty of time.

3. Cast Your Ballot

At your early voting center, check in to vote and get your ballot.

Fill out your ballot and hand it in. That usually involves placing it in a ballot drop box, which is safe and secure.

3 Steps to Vote By Mail

Voting by mail remains safe and accessible. 

Absentee voting is usually done by mail-in ballot well before Election Day. However, some states allow people who received their absentee ballots in the mail to vote in-person on Election Day at their polling place. Check your secretary of state or county board of elections websites to see if drop-off boxes are also available.

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1. Register to Vote Absentee, and Request a Mail-In Ballot as Early as Possible

Some states require a specific reason for absentee voting. Learn what excuse absentee voting means, and see what excuses your state requires.

2. Track Your Absentee/Mail-In Ballot

Mail-in voting tracks ballots from the day they’re printed to the day they’re counted. 

Choose your state on this map to see if your state election or secretary-of-state offices offer absentee/mail-in ballot tracking on a public website for voters.

3. Make Sure Your Ballot Is Delivered

If you see that your ballot hasn’t been counted, check the map to find out what provisions your state offers for lost ballots. 

5 Steps to Make a Plan to Vote on Election Day

Read the instructions below on how to make a plan to vote in-person on Election Day — November 3, 2020 — and write down your answer to each question.

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1. Scheduling

On Election Day, what time do you plan to arrive at the polling station?
  • Set the time that you need to leave home so you won’t be late.

  • Factor in two things: potentially long wait times (especially in the evening), and commitments you have after you vote (which affects the time you need to leave the polling place).

  • Give yourself plenty of time.

2. Prepping

What personal things do you need to take care of to make sure that you have the ability to get to the polls?
  • If needed, ask for time off work.

  • If you’re a parent, arrange for child care or plan to bring your child/children with you.

  • Prepare to wait in line and bring snacks.

  • Don’t forget to wear a face mask.

3. Documentation

What forms do you need to complete and what identification do you need to bring with you? 

4. Transportation

How will you get to the polls?
  • Will you get to the polls by foot, bike, car, or public transportation?

  • If you need a ride to or from the polls, arrange that with someone you know or check out a carpool service like Drive the Vote or Women Voters USA.

5. Communication

Who might you need to speak with?
  • Make sure to have your cell phone charged in case you need to contact someone while you’re in line. Identify who you’d need to speak with if you’re in line for longer than expected.

  • Save the Election Protection hotline number in your phone: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683). The hotline has trained attorneys standing by on Election Day who can assist you if an accessibility problem comes up. Call the hotline if you think your rights have been violated or to report any problem with the voting process. 

Remember These Dates

Watch the Last Debate

  • Thursday, Oct. 22: Presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn.

Oct. 24: Vote Early Day

Celebrate Vote Early Day by sharing about it on social media and IRL. Learn more at voteearlyday.org.

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