What follows is voting information for people in any state, as well as state-specific resources. To go to a specific topic, you can scroll down, and here's an overview of what you'll find:
General Voting Information:
- Push Polling (What it is and What to Do about it)
- What Kind of Ballots Can I Use (Paper, touchscreen, etc.)?
- How to Easily Register to Vote Online/Using a Phone/Check Your Registration
- Help Voting for People who are Hospitalized during Elections
- Making a Voting Plan: Why it Matters & How to Do it
- Links & Tools for Voters
General Voting Information
What is Push Polling & What Can I Do about it?
Push polling happens when someone contacts you as part of a propaganda effort but represents themselves as legitimate. It's done to alter election outcomes. There are many different types. It's supposed to have been outlawed, but it was documented in November of 2018. When a Mississippi US Senate race went to a runoff, many voters were contacted after the election and before the runoff. Some were told that because they voted in the original election, they did not need to vote in the runoff. These voters were told their original votes 'automatically counted' in the runoff. This is NOT true, and voters who didn't vote in both the first election and the runoff wouldn't have their votes counted for each race. People who tell voters this are push polling, and it’s a very serious voter suppression effort intended to keep you away from the polls and decrease voter turnout. https://www.gregpalast.com/mississippi-mike-espy-makes-stunning-charge-of-new-vote-suppression-tactic/
Another example of push polling happened when voters were asked if they would be more or less likely to vote for a candidate if they knew that the candidate was the father of a child born out of wedlock. That “poll” gave false information and was intended to keep people from voting as they’d planned. http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/03/21/the_anatomy_of_a_smear_campaign/
If you get calls from someone who claims to be with a poll, you have the right to ask who the person represents and what the source of their information is. A legitimate place will tell you, and you can make sure their information is correct online, or contact your board of elections if they claim you don’t need to vote or have “already been counted.”
If anyone tells you that being registered or a member of a political party or having voted in an earlier election means you don’t need to vote, that is false. Your vote only counts if you go to the polls (or vote absentee/by mail, per your state’s rules) and cast it. Even with a runoff, you have to vote in that race—your prior vote does not carry over and get counted. Make sure to vote each time, and let your family and friends know how to avoid falling for push polling. Information is the best weapon against voter suppression. Thank you for being a voter!
What Kind of Ballot Will I Get? Can I Get Paper?
According to Verified Voter and Lifewire, most states will let you request and vote with a paper ballot. In fact, many states use only paper ballots. The Secure Elections Commission has stated that paper ballots are the safest to use because they cannot be easily hacked or altered. In some states, like Texas, the type of ballot you can get is decided by your precinct. Be sure to call your local board of elections at least 46 days before an election to see what options are available for you. If your precinct does have paper, you have the right to vote that way, even if election officials try to encourage touchscreen voting, or the polling location looks like it only has digital ballot stations. Here's some information about what to expect by state:
- Paper Ballots Only: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
- Touchscreen Only: Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, South Carolina.
- Paper & Electronic: (may depend on precinct): Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. https://www.lifewire.com/which-states-in-united-states-use-electronic-voting-4174835
Easy Ways to Register to Vote
In certain states, you can register to vote without even leaving your home, just by using an application on your phone. There are also websites that will help you register. Here are some resources to make registration as easy as possible:
- Register to Vote™: This application lets you register to vote using just your phone & by scanning a photo ID that is accepted by your state. You can use this application in California, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, and Massachusetts. For more information or to download the app, visit: https://registertovote.us/?ref=producthunt
- TurboVote: The application helps you register to vote, get an absentee ballot if needed, and reminds you when upcoming elections are. To get it, visit: https://turbovote.org/?ref=producthunt
- Voter Participation: This website helps you register to vote online. https://www.voterparticipation.org/register-to-vote-today/
Even if you've already registered to vote in the past, it's important to check your voter registration with your state's Secretary of State or county board of elections. Some states purge (remove) people from the voter rolls at times, so double-check that you're listed as active and registered at least 45-90 days before each election.
Making A Voting Plan & Why It's so Important
Some people, even political leaders, will do many things to make it hard to vote--sometimes, a law will be passed that limits who can vote, or people can only vote if they have a certain ID. The absolute most important thing is to always have a voting plan, and always vote. Every vote matters--control of Virginia's entire state government came down to ONE vote after the 2017 elections, and it was resolved by drawing out of a hat. If your vote wasn't so important, certain politicians wouldn't be working so hard to take it away. To help make sure you get to exercise your right to vote, it's important to make a voting plan. Here are things to think about when you make your voting plan. You can print this out & take it to the polls with you when you go to vote:
What to Include/Consider in Your Voting Plan
- Make sure you’re registered to vote. If not, register (or re-register if you were removed from your state’s active voting list).
- How do you plan to vote (early, absentee, by mail, in person on election day) & what are the state/local rules the way you want to vote?
- Do you have to have a certain ID to vote in your state?
- Do you qualify for an exception to any rules that require specific IDs?
- If you need an ID to vote, which ones does your state accept?
- If you cannot afford an ID, are any resources available to help you get one?
- Know where your polling location/precinct is & the hours/days it’s open for early voting & on election day, so you can make sure you get to vote.*
- Any arrangements you need to make to vote: transportation, disability accommodation, etc.
- Your rights as a voter.
*Every polling location has hours they’re open to let people vote. That location must be open for the entire time it says it will be, & if you’re in line to vote when the polls close, poll workers are legally required to let you vote. For example, if the polls close at 7 p.m., & you’re waiting in line by or before 7, you cannot be turned away or told it's too late to vote.
What if I’m in the Hospital & Want to Vote?
There are organizations that help give voters who are hospitalized during early voting and/or on election day emergency absentee ballots. These ballots allow voters in a hospital to still be able to vote. Some states, like Tennessee, have laws that say a voter who is in the hospital does not need to show a photo ID to vote. If you or someone you know is hospitalized and worried about not being able to vote, there are ways to make sure you can. Visit this link for help with this: https://www.patientvoting.com.
Links & Tools for Voters:
- A Guide to Each State's Election Rules & Laws: http://electionary.info/en/ogea/
- Every State's Election Dates & Deadlines: https://www.usvotefoundation.org/vote/state-elections/state-election-dates-deadlines.htm
- Vote Pro-Choice Voting Guide: https://www.voteprochoice.us/voter-guide
- How Old You Have to Be to Register (or Pre-register) to Vote: https://www.usa.gov/voter-registration-age-requirements
- Track What's Going on in Your State: https://openstates.org/
- Contact Info for Your Elected Officials (Federal & State): https://secure.everyaction.com/p/VRl-GNlm_0mCSWaMc4d6_w2
- How to Contact Your State Legislators: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator
- Help Getting Voter IDs (for FL, GA, IN, LA, NC, TN, TX, VA, & WV): www.spreadthevote.org/voters