Election season is upon us and there are many important races all across the country awaiting the decision of the people. If you feel unsure about voting, or how to get to the polls, check out these five things to keep in mind before you cast your ballot.
Make sure you are registered to vote.
Depending on the state you live in, there may be a specific deadline that you must register before. If you have already missed this deadline in your state, you may not be able to vote in this year’s election. However, you can still register and be ready for the next election!
Confirm where your voting location is.
If you aren’t sure where to go, you can contact your local county government office, or you can visit vote.org and enter your address for your polling place information. Sometimes your polling place moves, or you yourself have moved.
Office of Protection and Advocacy
As a precaution, be sure to look up the phone number for your state’s Office of Protection and Advocacy and have it ready when you head to your polling place. If you run into any issues, including the physical accessibility of the building or problems accessing the voting equipment, this is the correct office to advise you of your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Have a plan to get there.
If you are unable to drive or walk to your local polling place, there are a few options you can consider:
- The ride sharing mobile phone apps Uber and Lyft are both offering discounted ride options for their users in need of a ride to the polls this Tuesday. Please note that in order to use these discounted ride options, you must have either the Uber app or Lyft app downloaded on your smartphone.
- Some public transportation services are also offering free or discounted fares for people trying to get to their polling stations.
- Organizations such as Carpool Vote can match up people in need of a ride to the polls with people who are willing to drive them around.
If you are unable to get to a polling place for any reason (including hospitalizations, rehabilitation stays, or mobility concerns), you are still able to cast your vote via an absentee ballot. All 50 states allow absentee voting, although some have restrictions on this form of voting. Find out more about your state’s absentee ballot rules here.