VOTING:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT

Every state has different laws and procedures. Below is information you are not told. Ninety percent of this information will apply to most every state. The other ten percent you must look at your state or County website.

We recommend VOTE.ORG for the following:

  • Registering to vote
  • Get your name on the absentee voting list
  • State deadlines and election dates
  • State voting requirements
  • Voting methods and options
  • Connecting to your state and local election websites and officials
REGISTRATION

Incorrect addresses are the number one reason voters are purged from the rolls or determined to be ineligible to vote on election day.

  • Regularly check your registration before the election.
  • You may have been purged illegally. Even if you are registered the information may be wrong.
  • Pay attention to the spelling of your name, street and city. Pay attention to the numbers on your house/apt and zip code.
  • If you have moved in the past two years and have not changed your information, then you must update your registration information.
  • If you have not voted in the past two federal elections, be extra vigilant in checking your registration.
  • Take a screen shot or print out a physical copy of your registration confirmation.
VOTE BY MAIL & ABSENTEE BALLOTS

Absentee Ballots and Vote By Mail Ballots are the same exact thing.

  • Apply for your ballot immediately so it arrives as early as possible. The US Post Office is saying it could take up to 14 days to deliver.
  • You can do this at VOTE.ORG. You can also apply on your state or County website.
SAMPLE BALLOTS
  • On your County website, they will provide a link to print out a sample ballot 45 days before the election. Print one out and fill it out before you fill out your official ballot.
  • This will enable you to research all of the races and more importantly, not make any mistakes when you fill out the official ballot.
FILLING OUT YOUR BALLOT PROPERLY

Simple mistakes can cause your ballot to not count

  • Read the directions carefully when you receive your ballot
  • When filling out your ballot, fill in the circles fully with only black or blue ink.
  • Do not use magic markers, crayons, felt pens, glitter pens, etc.
  • Do not circle the candidates name
  • Do not put a check in the box or circle
  • Do not put an “X” over the circle or box to indicate your candidate choice
  • Only make the marks you are instructed to make on the ballot to vote

­

Make sure to vote for the down ballot races.

MISTAKES
  • If you make a mistake on the ballot, do not try to fix it.
  • Call your County election office, inform them and find out how to get a new ballot.
MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE IS COUNTED

There are several technicalities in which your ballot can be disqualified

Signature

  • When you sign your name, make it as close to your signature on your license or personal ID
  • 18-24 year olds: Be especially aware of this. It is the number one reason your ballots get rejected
  • In some states, like Florida, you can update your signature via the County or state website
  • If you choose to do this, and it is a pain- we know, take a picture of the signature.

 

Envelopes

  • In some states there is a privacy envelope/sleeve in addition to the mailing envelope
  • If your state is one of those, then place your ballot inside of that sleeve or envelope
  • Make sure you seal the envelopes tightly.
  • In most states you will need to sign the back of the return envelope. Sign inside the box provided. If they ask for your address, provide it. If not, don’t.
  • If you are required to have a witness sign it, then make sure they provide what is asked. Sometimes it is a signature. Sometimes it is a signature and an address.

 

Mailing Your Ballot

Your Ballot Must Be Received On Time Based On Your States’ Laws

  • The US Post Office is suggesting you mail your ballot back 14 days before election day.
  • In most states, the ballots need to be in the election office by the time the polls close on election night. Check your laws in your state.
  • Check and see if the state is paying for postage or whether you are required to pay the postage.
  • If you are required to pay for postage, then make sure you know how much it costs.
DROP BOXES

If you want to vote by mail but do not trust the post office, many counties will have “Drop Boxes”.

These are official boxes you can drop your ballot without postage. You must drop the ballot off yourself.

  • Go to the County election website to find out if they have drop boxes and if so, where are they located.
  • If you cannot find the information you need, then call the County office.
  • You can find the number and email addresses for your local election administrators on your County page through VOTE.ORG
TRACK YOUR BALLOT

Make Sure Your Vote Is Counted

  • Go to VOTE.ORG and click on your state page. At the bottom of the page in the “Offsite Links” there is a link to track your “absentee ballot”.
IN PERSON VOTING

Early

We highly recommend if you plan on voting in person, do it early if your state has early voting. The lines are shorter and if you forget your ID or there is an issue with your registration then there is time to have it fixed and come back another day.

  • Make sure to bring all of the proper ID needed if there are ID requirements. You can find that information on VOTE.ORG.
  • Bring backup documents that prove your current address. Phone bill, electric/gas/water bill, lease.
  • Go to your County website to find out early voting locations
  • Make sure you bring your printed out “sample ballot” so you know that they are giving you the correct ballot. YES, THEY GET THIS WRONG SOMETIMES.

 

Election Day

  • COVID 19: Bring your own face covering, rubber gloves, hand sanitizer.
  • If your state is notorious for having long lines, then bring food and water. If you have some type of chair, that is a good idea as well.
  • Check to make sure you are going to the correct polling location before you leave. You can find that at VOTE.ORG or your County or state website.
BEAT SUPPRESSION AND INTIMIDATION TACTICS

There is no such thing as “ballot police”, “ballot security”, etc. The following information, courtesy of the ACLU, states exactly what those looking to suppress your vote cannot do.

  • Aggressively question voters about their citizenship, criminal record, or other qualifications to vote.
  • Falsely representing oneself as an election official.
  • The real officials will have a badge from the County that says something similar to “election official”.
  • Displaying false or misleading signs about voter fraud and related criminal penalties.
  • Harassment targeting non-English speakers and voters of color.
  • Spreading false information about voter requirements.
    • You do not need to speak English to vote, in any state.
    • You do not need to pass a test to vote, in any state.
    • Some states do not require voters to present photo identification.
  • No one can approach you outside the polling place and ask you for ID, threaten deportation, threaten to have you sent to jail, threaten you with a gun, etc.
  • People attempting to suppress your vote are not allowed within between 100-150 feet of the entrance of the polling location.

What to do if you are being threatened or intimidated

  • Take their picture, ask their name and tell them they are breaking the law and you are reporting them to the police immediately as well as the local news and posting it on social media.
  • Then call the voter protection hotline and report it. 866-867-8683 or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
  • When you get to the check in table, report it to the poll workers.
  • It is illegal for cops to do anything at polling sites except vote.
  • Law enforcement are not allowed to work for a party or organization questioning people’s right to vote. Ask them their name, badge number and which department they work for and then IMMEDIATELY call your local precinct and the voter suppression hotline.
IF YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE IS CHALLENGED
  • Challengers are only located inside your voting location and they must be wearing a badge.
  • Challengers ARE NOT ALLOWED to speak to a voter for any reason.
  • Challengers must have a VALID REASON to challenge your right to vote. They must provide reliable evidence to support each of their challenges.

Here are reasons they can challenge your right to vote

  • You already voted in the election
  • Voter is not a U.S. citizen
  • Resides outside the relevant election district
  • You are underage
  • You are not the person you say you are

Once You Have Been Challenged

  • An election official will question the voter and ask the voter to swear an oath.
  • If the voter fails to demonstrate that they are eligible and refuses to affirm his/her eligibility, the election official may refuse his/her vote.
  • The burden of proof is on the challenger, not the voter.
  • If the election official reverses that, then call the voter protection hotline.

Join Our Mailing List For

VOTING NEWS!

If you are signing up as a poll worker, we will be having additional trainings to help augment your state and/or County training. Sign up and we will email you when they are scheduled. 

If you have questions or are running into trouble registering to vote or finding needed information please contact us at info@votingrightsarecivilrights.com We will get back to you as quickly as possible.