You may have heard all kinds of scary things about how the coming election could be “rigged” and how you might be stopped from voting. But if you follow the simple steps below you will have a very good chance of getting YOUR vote counted in the United States General Election, the Presidential Election, going on now through November 3rd, 2020.
First, are you allowed to vote? If you can say “yes” to the four questions below then you most likely can vote in the United States.
- Are you over 18?
- Are you a US citizen?
- Have you registered to vote in your state in time for this election?
- Can you show the identification required by your state?
How do I find out the voting rules in my state? Here are some ways to find out:
- Call your local circuit or municipal or town clerk and ask your questions.
- You may visit your local circuit or municipal clerk in person and ask your questions. The clerk is usually at the town or city hall where you live Monday through Friday 8 am to 4 pm.
- Or use a computer or cell phone to go to the official government website: https://www.usa.gov/how-to-vote. Translation into Spanish/Español is available on the website. You will be directed by links to other pages with the voting rules for your state.
What do I need to know?
- How do I register to vote? You have to register to vote before you can vote. Here are two simple ways:
- Go to your RMV – Registry of Motor Vehicles – and they can give you a voter registration form to fill out.
- Or, you can download an online registration form to fill out and send in (it is in 15 languages). Follow links on the “how to vote” site above or go to: https://www.eac.gov/voters/national-mail-voter-registration-form
- Or, in some states, you can fill out a registration form online.
- Ask or look up how far ahead you have to register in order to vote in your state by the November 3rd, 2020 election. Here is a website that can tell you that: https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/
What pieces of paper or what identification cards do I need to vote?
- Ask your city or town clerk or your public library reference librarian, if your library is open during Covid 19.
- Or follow links on the “how to vote” site above or go to: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx#Laws%20in%20Effect
What are the different ways to vote in my state?
- Some of the ways may be:
- Vote by mail
- Vote by absentee ballot
- Vote in person at your town hall (or special location)
- Vote at your “polling place” on November 3, 2020 – the voting place for people who live on your street. The city or town clerk can tell you where it is.
What if they say I can’t vote?
- This may happen if your address on your registration is not the same as the address where you live now. Or if your name is different. Or if your signature doesn’t match the one on your identification papers. Don’t worry. You still have a chance to vote.
DON’T LEAVE until you ask the person at your polling place for a “PROVISIONAL BALLOT” – then fill it out and hand it in. There is a law that says you can fill out that kind of ballot even if you run into one of the problems above. People will still look at your ballot later and see if your vote can be counted.
That’s it! Don’t be scared away by what some people say. Vote and be proud. YOU and all who vote help make our country a better place to live.