While there are generally letters of problems that can appear at the acclamation (maybe you’ve apparent account of adulterated machines and allotment purges in states that accept aboriginal voting), a few simple accomplish can advice accomplish abiding you’re attainable to auspiciously casting your vote. Let’s alpha with accession out what’s on your ballot.
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You adeptness be afraid on Acclamation Day aback you see aloof how abundant is on your ballot. In accession to federal candidates for the House and Senate, some states accept bounded administrative elections, borough races, diffuse acclamation measures and more. (Some ballots in Florida counties run up to bristles pages long, double-sided!) Here’s how to get a d plan attainable for aback you admission the voting booth.
Read a Sample Ballot
You can apprentice who and what is on your acclamation by blockage BallotReady, which provides specific information, from federal candidates bottomward to your bounded officers, in accession to absolution you ample out a apish acclamation you can email or book to accompany with you to the booth.
Have a Dress Rehearsal
If you’re still afraid about what to do already you get to your polling place, you adeptness be able to get some practice. Many bounded acclamation boards accept an added voting apparatus that anyone can appear analysis out afore they vote. Give them a alarm to see if they accept a apparatus you can appear try. (But be accommodating — this is their busiest season, abnormally if aboriginal voting has amorphous in your state.)
Maybe one applicant has already spent some time confined in the position and is up for re-election. If that’s the case, you can attending into how they’ve spent their time in appointment so far. For aldermanic races, ProPublica’s Represent database pulls calm key capacity about the bills your assembly accept introduced, how they’ve voted, the issues they allocution about and more. Here’s our adviser to authoritative faculty of abstracts about your assembly in Congress.
For candidates attractive to accomplish their aboriginal attack into politics, the League of Women Voters has advice on local, accompaniment and federal candidates and acclamation measures. You can chase for your abode or accompaniment on Vote411.
If you appetite to watch how the chase in your commune is alteration in these last, final canicule afore the election, ProPublica’s Acclamation DataBot has aggregate you could anytime appetite — such as polling numbers and account on specific candidates or races. You can alike assurance up to get email notifications. Read how to use the Acclamation DataBot here.
In some states, voting in the amiss polling abode can account your acclamation to be befuddled out. Confirm your polling abode application Google’s polling abode locator.
ID requirements for voting alter broadly by state, a alloyed bag that can advance voters to afield accept they don’t accept the appropriate ID aback they absolutely do. Attending up laws in your accompaniment on Vote411, from the League of Women Voters.
Issues with allotment are amid the best accepted problems voters face at the polls.
As we covered in a antecedent archetype of the User’s Adviser to Democracy, acclamation admiral consistently apple-pie up their aborigine rolls to bright not alone abeyant voters but additionally those who accept confused and abandoned to amend their information. Aborigine purges, however, are decumbent to mistakes, across-the-board acceptable voters off the rolls. And in June, a Supreme Court case upheld the adeptness of acclamation jurisdictions to aish the aborigine registrations of bodies who haven’t voted in years and bootless to acknowledge to warnings beatific by mail.
Make abiding you’re registered — go to Vote.org to verify your aborigine registration.
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If your allotment has been deactivated (or if you haven’t registered yet), it adeptness not be too late, depending on area you live. Fifteen states, and the Commune of Columbia, activity same-day allotment on Acclamation Day, acceptance you to annals and vote appropriate at your polling location. Two states, North Carolina and Maryland, accommodate same-day allotment during portions of their aboriginal voting periods.
If you accept your allotment has been afield purged and the allotment borderline in your accompaniment has passed, there are still a few things you can try aback you go to the polls.
You can additionally alarm the Acclamation Protection hotline for absolute abetment from accomplished volunteers and voting rights attorneys at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683). This is run by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which provides abstracts to Electionland.
You adeptness accept to booty some activity in adjustment for your conditional acclamation to count. That could accommodate advancing to the lath of acclamation offices with able ID, aural a aeon of time afterwards the election. So afterwards appointment your conditional ballot, chase up to accomplish abiding you’ve completed whatever activity is required. Application the cancellation you were accustomed aback appointment your conditional ballot, you should additionally chase up with the acclamation appointment to acquisition out if your acclamation was counted.
The midterm elections will appearance American backroom for the aing two years and beyond, and this year’s chase is abnormally heated. We’re on clue to see the accomplished assembly for a midterm aback the mid-1960s. Aborigine turnout, however, can be abject by aborigine misinformation and belted admission to the ballot. Knowing your rights is key to acclamation added problems you, or your adolescent voters, may appointment on Acclamation Day.
The Rules: You’re accustomed to accompany addition with you if you charge advice account or casting your ballot. You can get advice from any being you accept (except your employer or abutment representative) including a child, about or friend. Your abettor does not accept to be over 18 or a registered voter.
You (probably) accept the appropriate to voting abstracts in a accent added than English. Under the Voting Rights Act, any canton with added than 10,000 association whose built-in accent is not English and who adumbrated on their U.S. Census anatomy a abridgement of accomplishment in English is appropriate to accommodate acclamation abstracts — including notices, forms, instructions and ballots — in the communities’ articular languages.
What You Can Do: If you apperceive addition who needs advice or see addition disturbing at the polls, accomplish abiding they accept that, if their canton does not accept bilingual materials, or if they don’t accept anybody to advice them, they should ask for accent abetment from a poll worker.
If the poll workers can’t help, you can alarm the afterward Acclamation Protection hotlines:
The Rules: Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, polling places are appropriate to be attainable to bodies with disabilities. The Advice America Vote Act requires polling places to accept at atomic one voting apparatus attainable to bodies with disabilities — a apparatus that can mark the acclamation for addition who cannot do so, for example, and appearance ample blazon for bodies with beheld problems.
What You Can Do: If an ADA-compliant apparatus is not offered to you, you can ask for it. If the poll workers don’t apperceive how to use the machine, you should acquaintance the acclamation administrator for your canton and accomplish them acquainted of the situation. You can additionally alarm one of the aborigine hotlines mentioned beforehand for absolute assistance.
The Rules: Misinformation about voting is a accepted bedraggled ambush in campaigns activity aback ancestors — counterfeit mailers, flyers, robocalls and SMS letters claiming that you can vote on Wednesday, for example, or admonishing that you’ll get arrested at the acclamation for outstanding parking tickets. Unfortunately, voters generally abatement for these sorts of ambiguous practices.
What You Can Do: Alone await on trusted, absolute sources of information, as able-bodied as official documents. You can verify that voting advice you get in the mail is accurate by attractive for the official acclamation mail logo.
The U.S. Postal Service alone allows this logo on abstracts beatific by accustomed acclamation officials. It can not be acclimated for political purposes by campaigns. (And amuse apperceive that your elections appointment won’t leave official advice on your car windshield or accomplish robocalls.)
The Rule: Although abundant aborigine assembly is accepted to advance to continued lines, the delay cannot band you of your appropriate to vote. If you are continuing in band aback the acclamation are open, you are advantaged to casting your acclamation — alike if your delay extends accomplished the appointed poll closing time. Best states accept laws absorption this right, answer absolutely how the aftermost being in band is distinguished, and poll workers are instructed to acquiesce every being already in band aback the acclamation aing to vote.
What You Can Do: If you were in band afore the acclamation closed, and addition tries to stop you from voting, alarm one of the aborigine hotlines, or your accompaniment or bounded acclamation officials.
Electionland is a affiliation of hundreds of newsrooms about the country that is ecology all of the problems categorical above, now through Acclamation Day. Led by ProPublica, Electionland uses abstracts and technology to clue any issues that can anticipate voters from casting their ballots — including continued lines, allotment problems, purged aborigine rolls, burst machines, aborigine intimidation, misinformation, afflicted voting locations and added — civic and in absolute time. And we charge your advice to do it.
Here’s how to let us apperceive if you encountered annihilation that chock-full you or others from casting a ballot:
In 2016, the Electionland affiliation went through bags of tips from a acknowledged alarm centermost hotline, as able-bodied as bags of argument letters and amusing media posts from voters like you. Bounded journalists about the country appear 400 belief and helped accompany absorption to voting problems that were anchored afore acclamation closed.
This year, if you see something, say something. We’re listening.
ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning analytic newsroom. Assurance up for their newsletter.
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