weeLove: Knowing how to vote, 2020 edition
Your voice matters
Make sure it’s heard this election
ICYMI, there’s a pretty big election happening soon. Casting your vote allows you to make a choice for how you want your lives, your families’ lives, and those of your neighbors and friends to be moving forward. It is a tremendous privilege and an amazing right. And because 2020 is nothing but full of surprises, voting may look different than it has in the past.
We know how busy you are, between the diaper changes, nap schedules, school, work, and everything else you do on a daily basis, so we’ve done a little of the legwork for you, in case you need a little more info about how or when to vote this year.
What are my options for voting this year?
How you’re able to vote is up to the state you live in—because of COVID-19, you may have other options available to you in an effort to keep communities healthy and safe *while* making it easy to exercise your right to vote. Options may include requesting an absentee ballot, mailing in your ballot, dropping it off at a drop box or polling place, voting early in-person, or voting in-person on November 3rd (aka Election Day).
- First, check to make sure you’re registered here (it’ll take less than 2 minutes). If you’re not registered, you can do so here (if your state’s deadline to register hasn’t passed).
- Want to check *how* you can vote in your state, and the rules for doing so? Click here, and select the state where you’ll be voting. It will let you know how to vote, what ID you may need, registration deadlines, and more.
- If you’ll be mailing in or dropping off your ballot, make sure to double check you filled it out correctly. This may mean using a specific, included envelope, signing with a recognizable signature (hint: the one on your drivers license or state ID), or having a witness sign as well. Read the instructions included with your ballot carefully.
- When you drop off or mail in your ballot, you can then track it (just like you track your Amazon packages). This can enable you to make sure it gets counted. CNN has curated a list of every state’s ballot tracking system (where available).
- If you’ll be voting in person, check here to find your most up-to-date polling location (please note that this may have changed from the last time you voted, as states may be taking extra precautions due to COVID-19). Be sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing!
- Want to double-check what will be on your ballot? Read up on local, state, and federal races here.
What to do if you run into issues at the polls…
First things first, it is illegal for anyone to try to stop you from voting. If you experience any of the following, report it to Election Protection (866-OUR-VOTE in English, 866-VE-Y-VOTA in Spanish—additional languages also available) immediately.
- Intimidation. This may include physically blocking entrance to voting locations, verbally abusing people waiting to vote, questioning voters about their choices or citizenship status, asking for identification unnecessarily.
- Coercion. This may include offering money to vote for a certain candidate, spreading false rumors about voting, displaying signs with false or misleading information.
- False information about voting requirements.
- People impersonating poll workers or election officials.
If you’re registered to vote and are for some reason turned away at the polls, confirm that you’re registered, and then confirm that you’re at the right polling place. If both of those are true, don’t leave! Call 866-OUR-VOTE and ask for help voting.
If you are encountering problems voting, like polls closing early—even if you were in line before closing time—not having enough ballots, or feeling pressured to vote for a particular candidate, ask to speak with a poll worker, and call 866-OUR-VOTE. (You can also text “election protection” to 97779 for assistance.)
Check your ballot before submitting and/or leaving you polling place to ensure there aren’t any errors. If there is an error with the votes on your ballot, ask a poll worker for help. They’ll give you a new ballot and the old one will be destroyed.