Have questions about how to make a plan to vote?
We’ve got you covered!
Why should I make a plan to vote?
It’s simple! You are more likely to vote if you make a plan to do it. Think through how you’re going to vote. Depending on what options are available in your state, you can decide between voting by mail, early voting, or in-person on Election Day. State election laws vary, especially around voting by-mail or voting early, so make sure to do your research.
If I want to vote by mail, what should I do?
Have questions about voting by mail? We’ve got you covered! Check out our full guide on being #MailReady.
If I want to vote in person, should I vote early or on Election Day?
If you have the opportunity to vote early, do it! When you vote early:
Your early voting location may differ from your election voting location. Find your early voting location.
Some states don’t allow for early voting. Find out if you are eligible to vote early.
Learn more about your early voting options at voteearlyday.org.
Where do I vote in person?
Where you vote is determined by what precinct you live in. Your friend might vote at one polling location and you might vote at another if you don’t live near each other (and even if you do!). Some counties are still finalizing their voting locations, so double check your poll’s address before you vote – it may have changed or moved since the last election.
Your early voting location will typically be different than where you would vote on Election Day. Don’t get the two confused!
When should I vote in person?
Polling places may have different hours for early voting and Election Day. Show up early to save time standing in line, and don’t plan to vote after business hours if your polling place closes early. If you get to your polling place late in the day, the line may be longer.
If you are in line by the time the polls close, you can still vote – you have the right to stay in line as long as you need to. Bring anything you might need to wait in line — like water, snacks, a voter guide or a folding chair — and make sure your phone is charged before you show up.
If you experience any issues while voting in-person, including intimidation or other barriers to the ballot box, call or text the 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) hotline to connect with a trained, non-partisan Election Protection volunteer.
Should I bring my ID?
Thirty-six states require identification in order to cast a ballot. Some require government-issued photo ID. Others give you options to use different types of ID, including the ability to sign a form if you don’t have an ID. Check the rules for your state and specific kinds of ID you can use at VoteRiders.
If you show up to your polling place without your ID and your state requires one, or if the poll workers won’t accept your ID, ask if you can vote with a “provisional ballot.” That means you can vote, but your ballot will be kept separate and will not be counted unless you can confirm your identity. You will have a certain number of days to provide your elections office with an acceptable ID, so make sure you get instructions on how and when to do that.
If you have any questions about what ID to take to the polls or need help in obtaining an acceptable ID to vote, you can call or text VoteRiders at 844-338-8743 or you can chat with them through their chatbot HERE.
If you are in a state that does not require ID, and anyone challenges your right to vote without an ID, call or text 866-OUR-VOTE to connect with a trained Election Protection volunteer
How do I navigate the politics?
There will likely be people campaigning for candidates or ballot questions outside of your polling place. You can generally ignore these folks if you don’t want to take a flyer or engage otherwise. But, if you feel uncomfortable or pressured to vote a certain way, you can call or text 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) to report the behavior to a trained Election Protection volunteer.
It’s fun to support your candidate at your voting location, but in some states, you can’t wear campaign or candidate apparel to your polling place. Check to see if your state has any restrictions for what you can wear to the polls.
What do I do if something goes wrong?
If anything prevents you from voting, you should call or text 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) to get guidance from trained, non-partisan Election Protection volunteers about how to move forward.
After seeking support from Election Protection, you can request a provisional ballot (also known as “challenge” or “affidavit” ballots in some states) as a last resort if anything goes wrong and prevents you from voting. A provisional ballot is one that is counted after review from an election official, instead of being counted on the spot. Provisional ballots are there to make sure you aren’t excluded from the voting process if your eligibility to vote is deemed uncertain. They can also be referred to as “challenge ballots” or “affidavit ballots.”
If you end up casting a provisional ballot, make sure you follow up with your local election office, because in some states, the burden falls on you to make sure your provisional ballot counts like a normal ballot. Here are some reasons you might need to request a provisional ballot:
What if I have a special circumstance?
If you have any special circumstances that aren’t reflected here, check out the following websites to find information.
Not only can they help you understand your rights & make sure you’re able to vote, it also helps voting rights advocates track problems across the country
Call or text: 866-OUR-VOTE
5 Days | 5 Actions
Register to vote or check your registration status
Request your mail-in ballot
Make a plan to vote
Learn what’s on your ballot
Level up your voting engagement