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Voting on Election Day

Please note important, possible changes to polling places and election dates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Can I Vote Online?

No, in federal elections in the United States you can't vote online. 

In most elections in the United States, you either need to vote in-person at an official polling place or by casting an absentee ballot.

Find your polling place or request an absentee ballot.

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.

Please note: Many voters with disabilities rely on in-person voting at accessible polling places. Voters with language barriers often depend on the help of interpreters at the polls. 

Changes to polling places are possible due to the coronavirus. These may include different locations, layouts, procedures, and availability of translators.

If you need to vote in person, check your polling place close to Election Day. Find out about early voting options. And check with local election officials to learn:

  • If your needs will be met at your polling station

  • Other ways you may be able to vote

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

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 
  • 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 
  • 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. Some states require 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 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.

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.

Election Dates

Please note: Many states have postponed elections due to the coronavirus pandemic. These include presidential primary elections, primary and general elections for statewide offices, and local elections. Check with your state or local election office or the U.S. Vote Foundation for the dates of rescheduled elections.

The next federal election will be Tuesday, November 3, 2020. It will include voting for president and vice-president, 1/3 of the Senate, and all of the House of Representatives. State and local races will also be on the ballot in many areas.

Federal elections take place every two years, on even-numbered years. 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 and to see if you can vote early or by absentee ballot.

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Last Updated: August 21, 2020

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