Voting in 2020
Voting is one way we help shape the world we want by choosing people and policies that best represent our values. These decisions are complex and the act of voting is more difficult during a global pandemic. Here are some ways to prepare to vote this year.
Check your voter registration. If you have moved recently, check your registration here. If you have a criminal record, check if you’re eligible to vote because some states have reinstated felons voting rights. Some states have deadlines in the next few days, so put this at the top of your to do list.
Research your ballot. Read up on the issues before you start marking your ballot. Some states have propositions that could alter your state’s constitution. Most ballots will include local judges and officials who make important decisions for your community on criminal justice, education, and the environment. Local journalism can be really helpful resources here, look for their voter’s guide to break down the issues. Also, nonpartisan sources like the League of Women Voters’ Vote 411, can be great to understand where candidates stand on issues and look at your sample ballot.
Make a plan to vote. Decide what makes you feel safe--voting by mail, voting early in-person, or voting on election day.
- Voting by mail--Request your ballot here as soon as possible. Review the requirements, you may need another voter to witness your ballot. You may be able to drop off your ballot at an election center or county clerk’s office. If you plan to mail it, send your ballot as soon as possible. You should try to drop it in the mail before mid-October because many states will not count ballots after a deadline. Finally, 46 states let voters track their ballots.
- Voting early, in person--See if your state allows you to vote early at designated locations and then mark your calendar for when and where you’ll vote. Review requirements with your Secretary of State, you may need to bring an ID.
- Voting on November 3rd-—Check the location of your polling place, it may have changed due to the pandemic. Figure out when you will vote given your work and family commitments, plan your transportation, and mark your calendar. Be ready for delays. At the polling place, remember to bring your mask, respect others and maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
Know your rights. Most states allow you to take time off to work, though it differs by state. In some states, you should not need to show ID or proof of address before voting. It is a crime for someone to intimidate you when you vote. If you have a criminal history, you may be newly eligible to vote.If you (or someone you know) is not comfortable with a ballot in English, see if you can get a ballot in another language. People have to fight for this right throughout our country’s history. It was only when the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965 that all Native Americans, African Americans, poor people, illiterate people and other marginalized groups had their constitutional right to vote enforced.
Voting is a powerful act. By choosing leaders and policies that align with our values, we are caring for ourselves and our community. Set aside time to request your ballot, research the issues, make your plan to vote, and cast your ballot by November 3, 2020.