Find Your Polling Location
Cast Your Vote
You can cast your vote in local, state, and federal elections in one of several ways.
Vote in person at a polling place or polling station.
Vote by mail if you can't get to your registered polling station. This is for military members, overseas citizens, and others temporarily away from home.
Take part in early voting if your state offers it. Learn more about early voting.
Cast Your Vote at Your Assigned Polling Place or Polling Station
Polling locations are assigned by residential address. You should go to your assigned location since your name will not be on the roster at any other location. Your polling place may change from one election to the next, so check before you go to vote.
Find Out Where to Vote
Contact your state/territorial election office for your polling place and hours. Also, contact them if you need an accommodation.
Also, there are tools online that can help you find your polling location, hours, and other details:
Voting at a Location That is Not Your Assigned Polling Place
If you try to vote somewhere other than your assigned location, you may have to cast a provisional ballot.
If you have a disability you have the right to vote at an accessible polling place. But you may have to request that beforehand.
Report a Problem with a Voting Machine at a Polling Station
If you have a problem with your voting machine at your polling location, let your local poll workers know. You can also contact your state/territorial election office.
Two-thirds of states expect you to provide identification to let you vote at the polls.
Find Out if You Need to Bring an ID to Vote
Your state’s laws determine whether you will need to show an ID and if so, what kind.
Photo ID versus Non-Photo ID
About half of the states with voter ID laws accept only photo IDs. These include driver’s licenses, state-issued ID cards, military ID cards, and passports. Many of these states now offer a free voter photo ID card if you don’t have another form of valid photo ID.
Other states accept some types of non-photo ID. These may include birth certificates, Social Security cards, bank statements, and utility bills. Each state is specific about the documents it will accept as proof of identification. Be sure you know your state’s voter ID requirements before Election Day.
Procedures for Voting Without ID
Even if you don’t have a form of ID that your state asks for, you may be able to vote. But some states demand you take extra measures after you vote to make sure that your vote counts.
Some states may ask you to sign a form affirming your identity. Other states will let you cast a provisional ballot. States use provisional ballots when there is a question about a voter's eligibility. States keep provisional ballots separate until they decide whether they should count. To do so, they will investigate a voter’s eligibility. They may also compel you to show an acceptable form of ID within a few days. If you don’t, your provisional ballot won’t count.
Name or Address Mismatch
Even with the right ID, you may have to cast a provisional ballot. This can happen if the name or address on your ID doesn’t match the name or address on your voter registration. For instance:
You get married, change your last name, and update your voter registration. But your driver’s license, which you present as ID, still has your unmarried name on it.
You move and for your voter ID, you present a current utility bill. Unfortunately, you've forgotten to update your address on your voter registration beforehand.
Some states demand that you notify your local registration office of any name change.
Avoid problems. Always update your voter registration when you move or change your name.
First Time Voters
First time voters who didn’t register in person or show ID before must show identification. This is according to federal law.
Sample ballots can be helpful to review before Election Day and to bring with you to the polls. Your state may mail you a sample ballot or let you download one from its election site. The sample ballot may look exactly like the real one. It will show you all the races and candidates and any state or local measures up for a vote.
Some non-profit organizations produce unofficial sample ballots. These ballots may not look the same as what you’ll see when you vote but will provide the same info. They are different than the sample ballots provided by political parties. Those ballots show the candidates representing that party. You may receive one in the mail or from volunteers outside your polling entrance.
Several federal laws protect the rights of Americans with disabilities to vote. These include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
Voters with disabilities have the right to:
Vote in private, without help
Have an accessible polling place with voting machines for voters with disabilities
Polling places must have:
Wheelchair-accessible voting booths
Entrances and doorways at least 32 inches wide
Handrails on all stairs
Voting equipment for people who are blind or visually impaired
If you have a disability, you may:
Seek help from poll workers trained to use the accessible voting machine, or
Bring someone to help you vote.
You can also ask local election officials what other options you have.
Some states offer “curbside voting," when a poll worker brings everything you need to vote to your car.
Some set up polling places at long-term care facilities.
Local organizations may provide transportation to the polls.
Many states let people with disabilities vote by mail.
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) helps people overcome language barriers to voting.
Federal law also lets you bring someone to help you if you can't read or write.
Get Help and Learn More
Election Day in the U.S. is the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. The next federal election day will be Tuesday, November 3, 2020. But you may be able to vote early or by absentee ballot.
State and local elections can occur at other times throughout the year. This includes primary and special elections. Check with your state or local election office or the U.S. Vote Foundation for elections coming up in your area.
Federal elections take place every two years, on even-numbered years.
Do you need help?
Ask us any question about the U.S. government for free.
We'll get you the answer or tell you where to find it.
Last Updated: October 31, 2018