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Voting on Election Day

Find out how to find your polling place, and why it's important to cast your vote there. Learn if your state requires you to bring identification with you to the polls, and what type of ID your state will accept.

Find Your Polling Place

Your polling place is where you go to vote on Election Day. Find out where yours is located, its hours, and if you can change your polling place.

Find Out Where to Vote

To find your polling place and its hours, contact your state or territorial election office. And let them know if you need an accommodation for a disability.

Or, check on Can I Vote

Cast Your Vote at Your Assigned Polling Place or Polling Station  

Your polling place is based on your residential address. Go to the one you’ve been assigned. Your name will not be on the roster at any other location. Polling places are typically schools, community centers, and other public facilities. The site of your polling place may change from one election to the next, so check with your state’s election office before Election Day.

Can You Change Your Polling Location? 

You’re expected to vote at the polling place you’ve been assigned. If you move, update your address on your voter registration so you can be assigned a new polling place near your new home. 

  • If you try to vote somewhere other than your assigned location, you may have to cast a provisional ballot and your vote may not be counted.

If you have a disability, you have the right to vote at an accessible polling place. But, you may have to request it beforehand.

Voter ID Requirements

Most states do not require you to bring your voter registration card to the polls. But a majority of states do expect you to provide another form of ID to vote in person.

Find Out if You Need To Bring an ID to Vote

See this map for your state’s voter laws to find out what form of ID you need to vote in person on Election Day, or if you can vote without an ID.

First-Time Voters

First-time voters who did not register in person or show ID before must show identification. This is according to federal law.

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 
  • Passports 

Many of these states now offer a free voter photo ID card if you do not 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 
  • Utility bills 

Each state is specific about the documents it will accept as proof of identification. 

Procedures for Voting Without ID

Even if you do not have a form of ID that your state asks for, you may be able to vote. Some states require you to 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 require you to return to show an acceptable form of ID within a few days. If you do not, your provisional ballot will not 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 does not 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 require 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.

Voter Guides and Sample Ballots

Voter guides and sample ballots can help you decide who you can vote for and what ballot measures will be up for vote at election time.

Voter Guides

Voter guides provide background information on the candidates and ballot measures. They list who you can vote for and offer details on each candidate's experience and goals. They also explain ballot measures, which are specific questions or issues that you can approve or reject.

Sample Ballots 

Sample ballots show you the elections and candidates and any ballot measures that will be on your real ballot. But they will not provide information about the candidates like voter guides do. Your state may mail you a sample ballot or let you download one from your state election office website. That sample ballot may look exactly like the real one. 

Some non-profit organizations and political parties produce unofficial sample ballots. These ballots may highlight the candidates that the organization wants you to vote for, and will not look exactly the same as what you will see when you vote.

Bringing Notes and Voter’s Guides to Your Polling Place

You can bring your notes, a voter's guide, or a sample ballot into the voting booth. This frees you from having to memorize your choices for candidates and ballot initiatives. Some polling places do restrict cell phone use, so bring paper copies instead of using your phone. Check the rules with your local election office before you go. 

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Last Updated: September 16, 2022