Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

© Rinusbaak |

Well before an election:

  • Determine the last day you can register in order to vote in the next election
  • Consider registering to vote as a permanent absentee (by mail) voter – if you’re concerned about mailing your ballot, you can drop it off in person at a polling station or at the country clerk’s office – voting by mail may be much more convenient for some people – you will have your ballot well before Election Day and be able to spend plenty of time deciding how to vote
  • Register to vote – for more info:
  • Ensure that you are properly registered to vote, e.g., go to
  • Plan to vote early – most counties allow voting at designated locations up to two or three weeks before Election Day – this will give you plenty of time to resolve any problems with your voter registration
  • Determine where you can vote, when it is open and what type of ID you will need to bring with you to vote:
    • Call 1-866 MYVOTE1 – for precinct location info – you can leave a message for your local election officials
  • Be aware that some groups threaten to challenge the right of people to vote at polling stations but usually do not do so – their purpose is often to intimidate people into not trying to vote

    If you will be voting from overseas:

  • Check Overseas Vote Foundation

    If you will be voting from overseas and are a member of the military:

  • Check Military Voter Services

    If you will be voting from overseas and are 18-29 years old:

  • Check Youth Vote Overseas

Before voting:

  • Study the issues:
    • Do an Internet search for candidates and issues you’d like more info on
    • Voter’s guides
    • Newspapers
  • Consider what’s important to you – see "5 reasons your vote will be irrational" article at
  • Mark your choices, e.g., on a sample ballot or voting guide

Voting by mail:

  • Follow instructions for when to mail the ballot by and whether to include proof of identification

Take to the polling station:

  • Voter registration card
  • Your precinct #
  • Written list of your choices, e.g., marked on a voter’s guide

At the polling station:

  • Ask to make sure you are in the right line, e.g., for the correct precinct – many polling stations serve more than one precinct
  • Report any problems by calling 1-866 OUR-VOTE

    If poll workers suggest that you complete a provisional ballot:

  • Demand that a poll judge at the polling station resolve/adjudicate any dsicrepancies right there and then
  • Demand that the supervisor of elections be called

    If necessary:

  • Return with acceptable ID

    If you are in line at the close of polling hours:

  • Let poll workers know that you are legally allowed to vote even if you will casting your ballot after the close of polling hours

    If someone challenges whether you should be allowed to vote:

  • Call 1-866 OUR-VOTE and you will connected with an attorney
  • Consider calling the local office(s) of the presidential candidate you are supporting


Thanks for reading!