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What You Need to Know Ahead of Voting This Election

This year, the voting process for the upcoming election is a bit different than in the past. Due to the pandemic, there has been a rise in mail-in voting and absentee ballots. 

Despite these changes in ballot-casting, in-person voting remains crucial to the outcome of this election. As a voter, to ensure beyond a reasonable doubt that your ballot will be collected and counted, you should attempt to vote in person if able; so long as you wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer. 

Here are a few things to know regarding the voting process so everything can go smoothly: 

1. Registration

In order to vote and make your vote count, it’s important to make sure that you’re registered to vote. If you’re unsure, there are many resources to check and you can find more information about the voting process here. Certain states allow same-day voter registration, so long as you have the identity requirements. For more information about same-day voter registration, you can learn more here

2. Absentee and mail-in voting

For this year’s election, absentee and mail-in voting is becoming the “go-to” for many. You can either drop off your ballot at a designated drop-box or mail it in yourself; however, it’s especially important to do this sooner rather than later. If it’s sent out last minute, the collection of your ballot can be delayed or not received in adequate time, which could possibly result in your vote not being counted. If you find yourself in this predicament, provisional ballots may be offered if you go to the polls on Election Day explaining your situation. 

Most importantly, remember to put stamps on your ballot. Make sure to send in your absentee ballot as soon as possible if you want your vote to count! 

3. Read the directions on the ballot

While filling out your ballot, it’s crucial to fill everything out properly according to the mandated directions. If there’s a section on the ballot not marked correctly according to the directions, your vote can be invalid and not counted. Also, be sure that the name on your absentee ballot is your own.

4. Do not take pictures of your ballot

In certain states, taking pictures of your ballot is illegal and there exists the possibility of legal repercussions. In states including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Ohio, North and South Carolina, and more, pictures of your ballot can be considered an illegal action. Although certain states do allow pictures, it’s better to be avoid photography, as there’s a possibility that your vote can be voided. 

5. In-person voting 

Similar to going to the grocery store or anywhere that is indoors, there will be lines. Having patience during the voting process will be key, as it may take longer given that there are still safety protocols to be met. 

However, don’t let this discourage you from going to the polls on Election Day. Certain states are also extending early in-person voting so the polls aren’t too crowded on November 3rd. Once again, be sure to follow all CDC guidelines and bring your mask and hand sanitizer.

Going to the polls in-person may feel daunting because of the pandemic, however it is the best method to guarantee your vote is counted this November. Even if you’re able to vote by mail, it’s encouraged you go to the polls on Election Day to ensure your voice is counted.

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