By Nora Gilbert, Director of Partnerships at Vote.org
November is just around the corner, and we want to make sure everyone has the information and tools they need to vote this election.
The process of voting is unfortunately complex, featuring different rules and regulations in every state. This year, voters face heightened complexity due to a global pandemic and resulting rule and deadline changes, fears about the safety of in-person voting, and concerns about our postal system’s capacity to handle more election mail.
While this may seem daunting, the fact remains that your vote matters. Everything you care about is on the ballot this November. You’re not just showing up to elect a President, you’re choosing the people to represent you at the state and local level, who make critical decisions that impact you and your community every day. You’re voting for who will set budgets and decide how much funding goes to schools, housing, prisons, policing, the environment, and more. (And for anyone skeptical that their vote will make a difference: in the last 20 years, there have been more than a dozen races decided by a single vote or ending in a tie. Every vote counts.)
Here’s the good news: Vote.org is here to help make sure you have everything you need to vote. Here’s a step-by-step guide to make sure you’re #VoteReady.
1) Learn your options.
- Go to Vote.org to find your voter registration rules and deadlines, vote by mail rules and deadlines, and early voting dates in your state. (In some states, early voting has already started!)
- Different states have different rules and processes for voting by mail. Some automatically send all registered voters mail-in ballots, some send mail-in ballots to all voters who request one, and some require an “excuse” for receiving a mail-in ballot.
- Review your options and make a plan now: Are you going to vote early in-person? Are you going to vote by mail? Are you going to return your ballot via USPS, at a polling place, or at a dropbox?
2) Make sure you’re ready to execute.
- Check your registration.Take 30 seconds to double-check if you’re registered to vote using our “Verify” tool. Even if you think you’re registered, make sure. Your information may have changed (for example, if you moved or changed your name), or your state may have dropped your registration from the voter rolls. Confirm that the address you’re registered at is the correct one (this is especially important if you are planning to vote by mail.)
- Register to vote. Deadlines are coming up quickly! If you need to register to vote for the first time or update your registration, you can do so using our “Register” tool. Depending where you live, the tool will recommend the simplest and most digital path for you -- that may mean clicking out to register directly through your state’s online voter registration site, using Vote.org’s eSign technology to submit via fax, or generating a PDF to print and mail in to your local election official.
- Request your mail-in ballot. If you’re planning to vote by mail, request your ballot using our "Vote by Mail” tool.
3) Congrats, you’re officially #VoteReady! Now, can you ask 3 friends or family members to do the same?
- The most effective way to make sure your friends and family members vote is to ask them. Share your voting plan, and then ask them to make one, too. (We’ve even created some handy social assets for you to use.)
- Make sure to share the above links and resources to help others in your life get ready to vote. (Young voters are especially likely to lack essential information about voting. You can help.)
- Follow @votedotorg to stay informed and involved this year, and every year!