You’ve done your research and know where you stand on the issues and the candidates. As you make your game plan, be sure you have all of the details you need. You’ve come too far to get turned away on election day!
For the most part, the laws that determine voting procedure are determined by state. I’ll give example info for the state of Ohio.
Here are four easy-to-make election mistakes, and how to avoid them (spoiler–it’s doing your research):
1. Getting an absentee-by-mail ballot and showing up at your polling place.
In Ohio, if you request an absentee ballot in the mail and then arrive to vote in person, you’ll have to cast a provisional ballot. (and yes, if it’s your only option, you should cast a provisional ballot)
Let’s say you got an absentee ballot but you forgot to buy stamps or for whatever reason you didn’t get your ballot sent in in time. You can still deliver your ballot to your county board of elections on election day.
2. Missing a Valid ID
Requirements vary by state and can change over time. Ohio voter ID requirements can be found here.
If the address on your driver’s license is old, no problem. If your expiration date has passed, however, you need another form of identification. If you have a govt-issued photo ID that is not a driver’s license, the address must be current.
When in doubt–bring a back up form of ID to be sure you are able to cast your ballot.
3. Missing the Poll Closing Time
Even if you think you know when the polls are open, double check! Here is the Voting Schedule for Ohio. In the final days leading up to Ohio elections, the early in-person voting hours get shorter.
And for election day voters, here is a map of poll hours by state.
Ohio polls are open 6:30 am – 7:30 pm. If you’re in line by 7:30 you get to cast your ballot.
4. Heading to your Usual Polling Place sans Research
Double check your polling place at Gettothepolls.com. You might need to head to a different place than last time!