We’ve compiled a list of resources to assist with the voting process. Have any other questions? Let us know what we should add!
Before this year’s election, be familiar with the voting process in your State. The following ten tips from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission may help enhance your voting experience.
(1) Register to vote
Most States require citizens to be registered in order to vote. Make sure you understand the voter registration requirements of your State of residence. If you are not registered to vote, apply for voter registration no later than the deadline to register in your State. Contact your local or State elections office or check their Web sites to get a voter registration application and learn the deadline to register. The National Voter Registration Application form is available here.
(2) Confirm your voter registration status
Once you register to vote, check your status with your State or local elections office several weeks before the last day to register to vote. That way, you can change your registration information if needed (for example: name, ad – dress, or other corrections) in time to vote.
(3) Know your polling place location and hours
If you vote at a polling place on Election Day, confirm your polling place location. Make sure you know what time your polling place opens and closes.
(4) Know your State’s voter identification (ID) requirements
Some States require voters to show ID to vote. You can find out what forms of ID your State accepts by contacting your State or local elections office or checking their Web sites.
(5) Understand provisional voting
Federal law allows you to cast a provisional ballot in a Federal election if your name does not appear on the voter registration record, if you do not have ID, or if your eligibility to vote is in question. Your State may provide other reasons for voting by a provisional ballot. Whether a provisional ballot counts depends on if the State can verify your eligibility. Check with your State or local elections office to learn how to tell if your provisional ballot was counted.
(6) Check the accessibility of your polling place
If you are a voter where English is not your primary language or you are a voter with special needs or specific concerns due to a disability, your polling place may offer special assistance. Contact your local elections office for advice, materials in a specific language, information about voting equipment, and details on access to the polling place, including parking.
(7) Consider voting early
Some States allow voting in person before Election Day. Find out if your State has early voting in person or by mail and if so when, where, and how you can vote before Election Day. If you choose to vote early by mail, know the deadlines for requesting and returning your ballot. Some States provide drop-off stations for mail ballots, and some States allow voters to return mail ballots to polling places on Election Day.
(8) Understand absentee voting requirements
Most States allow voters to use an absentee ballot under certain circumstances. Check on the dates and requirements for requesting and returning an absentee ballot before Election Day. Absentee ballots often must be returned or postmarked before the polls close on Election Day. Determine your State’s requirements for returning absentee ballots. Because of current mail delays, we recommend getting your ballot in the mail two weeks before Election Day. Make sure you have stamps on your ballot, and get it in the mail on or before 3pm on Election Day, November 3rd.
(9) Learn about military and overseas voting
Special voting procedures may apply if you are in the U.S. military or you are an American citizen living overseas. You may qualify for an absentee ballot by submitting a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program or check its Web site: http://www.fvap.gov, for information relating to military and overseas voters.
(10) Get more information
For more on these tips and for answers to other questions about the election process, contact your State or local elections office.
To check to see if you are registered to vote and find polling places near you visit this link from the U.S Election Assistance Commission.
Are you a student or young adult?
Young adults are lowest in numbers when it comes to registering and voting. In 2014, under 20 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds voted. Roughly 30 percent were not even registered to vote.
From registering to casting the first ballot, becoming a first-time voter is a process, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Students and other first-timers can ensure their votes are counted fellow Americans by following a few basic steps. There are countless resources available at both the state and federal level to help people unfamiliar with voting walk out of their polling station wearing an “I Voted!” sticker on election day.
F information on voting by state, a first time voter checklist, and how to get involved in the election in your community, go to vote411.org.
Want to get more involved?
If you want to do more than simply cast your vote, here are a few things you can do to make a greater impact during this election season.
Attend local town hall or city council meetings
Get in touch with your representatives
Work with a campaign you believe in
Attend a rally, protest, or other political event
Volunteer to register voters
Write postcards to your friends and family, telling them why you’re voting and what issues are important to you
As a student, you can join a campus organization that advocates for issues you care about. Can’t find one? Start your own.
The easiest thing you can do is ask everyone you know if they’re registered to vote. And if you’ve made it this far in this post without checking your registration, you can do that right here! Check my voter registration!