“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
November 8th is right around the corner. If you want your vote to count, make sure you follow your state’s voting laws. Overseas voters have different requirements from domestic voters.
Answers to 2016’s top 10 most common voter questions!
1. Did I miss the deadline? Assume nothing! You may still have time to register or request a ballot! Election deadlines vary significantly across the states. And even more so for overseas voters.
2. Am I registered? It’s good to check if you are registered to vote and here’s how: Go to US Vote’s State Voting Requirements page: Enter your state and hit Submit.
Scroll down and click on “Am I Registered – State Lookup Tools”. The link will take you to your state’s service to look up your voter registration status.
If you are not on the list, but are sure you sent in your signed registration form, you may want to call your Local Election Office to check that your application was accepted. It may be that you need to re-register or request an absentee ballot.
3. Where’s My Ballot? Good that you want to check on your ballot! Look up your State’s Voting Requirements and open the “Am I Registered – State Lookup Tools” section. There you will see a “Where’s My Ballot” link – if your state offers it.
If your state does not have a Where’s My Ballot lookup, you will need to call your election office – they manage ballot sending and counting.
Special note to overseas voters: if you sent in your form to request your ballot, but it is late, you can complete the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). If your ballot does arrive, vote and send it back even if you completed the FWAB. It will replace it for counting.
4. Can I send in my form online? And can I receive my ballot online? Possibly. The states vary in what they allow. Go to US Vote’s State Voting Requirements directory. Notice the toggle for overseas voters, in case you abroad.
Choose your state and hit Submit. Click on “Am I Registered – State Lookup Tools” to open that section. Click to open the “Voter Materials Transmission Options” to display a chart showing you the various ways you can exchange voting materials with your election office.
It is highly recommended voters follow every emailed document to your election office with a posted original in the mail. Many states require it! Overseas ballots MIGHT NOT be accepted if mailed within the states.
5. Does my state offer Early Voting or In-person Absentee Vote, and where do I go to vote early? Check the Election Dates and Deadlines chart to see the range of dates for which early voting is available in your state.
If it’s available, Early Voting or In-person Absentee Voting will be listed in the last column on the right. Contact your Election Office to confirm the Early Voting Location. FYI – some states consider absentee Vote-by-Mail to be “early voting.”
6. Does my state offer Election Day Registration and Voting? Check the Voting Methods and Options chart to see what is available in your state. You can also check the Election Dates and Deadlines chart – you will see Election Day Registration and Voting listed in the Voter Registration Column.
7. I have a question about my ballot? Please direct all ballot questions to your local election office – they are in charge of all aspects of your ballot. (Except of course the voting part!:-) You can look up contact information in the Election Official Directory and contact your election official today.
8. Where do I find the address or phone number for my Election Office? You can look up election office addresses and contact information in the Election Official Directory.
9. Where is my Polling Place? Look up your state and open the “Am I Registered – State Lookup Tools” section. There you will see a “Find My Polling Place” link to your state’s polling place finder tool.
10. What ID should I bring with me to the polls? Go to US Vote’s State Voting Requirements service: enter your state and hit submit. Click to open the Identification Requirements section and scroll down to ID at the Polls