How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Story | Margaret Baughman

It’s an important Election Year. You might be voting for the first time. Or, you’re voting in a new state. And you’re voting during a pandemic. 

How do you make sure that your voice is counted? Do you even know if you’re allowed to vote with a mail-in ballot in your state? 

This isn’t a guide to voting in every state, but it’ll give you a sense of what some of the deadlines are and things you should be considering while you make a plan to vote. 

(P.S. You can still vote in-person on November 3rd if you request your mail-in ballot and it never comes or you forget to buy stamps!)

PLAN

The biggest thing to note is that you should make that plan now. Don’t wait until the last minute when anything could happen in this full-of-unexpected-and-unprecedented-plot-twists year. 

And, if your state isn’t below, you can check out one of my favorite sites: Vote Save America. It was created by the former Barack Obama staffers of the podcast, Pod Save America. 

WORK

If you have the antibodies, or feel safe being out-and-about (read: if you’ve been to a bar since March 2020), sign up to be a Poll Worker! It is a paid job and you don’t need any specific experience to do it. Especially if you’re fluent in language(s) other than English. They need you. Google “Election Day Worker [State]” and you’ll find the information you need. 

AND VOTE

Talk to your employer about taking off the day or a few hours to fulfill your civic duty. Even if you’re planning to vote by mail, other people might need to go in-person and if you have the ability to advocate for them, that’s great. It might be in your company’s favor for more votes for a certain candidate and they should prioritize their employees being able to vote in whatever way they want to do. 

NEW YORK DATES TO KNOW:

  • Voter Registration Deadline: October 9, 2020
  • Request Mail-In Ballot: October 27, 2020
  • USPS Mail-Back Ballot Suggestion: October 27, 2020
  • Early Voting Dates: October 24, 2020 – November 1, 2020

NEW YORK

  • If you’ve never voted ever, you should register to vote in New York here. (You don’t even have to print anything, as long as you have an NY State ID! We know this is a big deal if you’re Gen Z or a Millennial.) 
  • If you have voted in NY before or remember registering to vote, you can check on your voter status here. People have been finding that even though they’ve voted recently that they’ve been kicked off the registry. Don’t panic. The form is quick, and still, no printers needed. 
  • The good news is that in the state of New York, you are able to request a mail-in ballot as a COVID-19 precaution. If this is your dream, request that ballot right now. You know who you’re voting for, so get that ballot in your hands immediately, so it can be counted as soon as possible. 
  • So, you’re planning to go to the polls, but do you know that you can vote before November 3rd? Use this link to find out when and where you can vote early in your county (once you’re 100% sure your voter registration is otherwise up-to-date). Most places in New York are offering Early Voting between October 24th and November 1st. This is a great way to beat the lines and pick a day that works best for your work schedule! 
  • Finally, if the best option for you is to attend in-person voting on November 3rd, find your polling place and then get there early. Give yourself hours of extra time to wait in socially-distanced lines while wearing your mask. They’re expecting polls to be under-staffed, so be sure that you can wait it out if needed. Bring hand sanitizer. 

ILLINOIS DATES TO KNOW:

  • Online Voter Registration Deadline: October 18, 2020
  • Request Mail-In Ballot: October 29, 2020
  • USPS Mail-Back Ballot Suggestion: October 27, 2020
  • Early Voting Dates: September 24, 2020 – November 2, 2020

ILLINOIS

  • If you’ve never voted ever, you should register to vote in Illinois here
  • If you have voted in IL before or remember registering to vote, you can check on your voter status here. People have been finding that even though they’ve voted recently that they’ve been kicked off the registry. Don’t panic. The form is quick. You can do it. 
  • The good news is that in the state of Illinois, you are able to request a mail-in ballot without any excuse. You’ve may’ve already seen a mail-in ballot application delivered to your home. If not, request that ballot right now. You know who you’re voting for, so get that ballot in your hands immediately, so it can be counted as soon as possible. 
  • So, you’re planning to go to the polls, but do you know that you can vote before November 3rd? Use this link to find out when and where you can vote early in your county (once you’re 100% sure your voter registration is otherwise up-to-date). Most places in Illinois are offering Early Voting between September 24th and November 3rd. This is a great way to beat the lines and pick a day that works best for your work schedule! 
  • Finally, if the best option for you is to attend in-person voting on November 3rd, find your polling place and get there early. Give yourself hours of extra time to wait in socially-distanced lines while wearing your mask. They’re expecting polls to be under-staffed, so be sure that you can wait it out if needed. Bring hand sanitizer. 

OHIO DATES TO KNOW:

  • Voter Registration Deadline: October 5, 2020
  • Request Mail-In Ballot: October 31, 2020
  • USPS Mail-Back Ballot Suggestion: October 27, 2020
  • Early Voting Dates: October 6, 2020 – November 2, 2020

OHIO

  • If you’ve never voted ever, you should register to vote in Ohio here
  • If you have voted in OH before or remember registering to vote, you can check on your voter status here. People have been finding that even though they’ve voted recently that they’ve been kicked off the registry. Don’t panic. The form is quick. You can do it. 
  • The good news is that in the state of Ohio, you are able to request a mail-in ballot without any excuse. If this is your dream, request that ballot right now. You know who you’re voting for, so get that ballot in your hands immediately, so it can be counted as soon as possible. Your application does have to be printed + mailed – it cannot be done online, so don’t wait until the last minute!
  • So, you’re planning to go to the polls, but do you know that you can vote before November 3rd? Use this link to find the early voting schedule for your county (once you’re 100% sure your voter registration is otherwise up-to-date). Most places in Ohio are offering Early Voting between October 6th and November 2nd. This is a great way to beat the lines and pick a day that works best for your work schedule! 

Finally, if the best option for you is to attend in-person voting on November 3rd, find your polling place and get there early. Give yourself hours of extra time to wait in socially-distanced lines while wearing your mask. They’re expecting polls to be under-staffed, so be sure that you can wait it out if needed. Bring hand sanitizer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s