The coronavirus pandemic makes the 2020 election season different than any before it. And it’s leaving a lot of people looking for information on how, where, and when to cast their vote.
This year, like every other election year, USAGov provides clear, reliable information about voting and elections. Explore answers to some frequently asked questions we receive on social media and through the USAGov Contact Center. They can help resolve your own voting questions ahead of November 3.
Question: How does voting by mail work, and what are my options?
Answer: Sometimes, life events make it hard to vote in person on Election Day. Each state has mail-in absentee voting, but some allow you to take part only in certain circumstances.
If you plan to vote absentee, here are some steps you may need to take:
Before you can vote absentee, you have to be a registered voter. Check or change your registration at Vote.gov.
Request an absentee ballot from your state if you do not receive one automatically.
Be aware of your state’s specific deadlines to return your ballot.
To find out how to return your absentee ballot, check with your local election office. This could be by postal mail, dropbox, or returning directly to your local election office.
Q: What happens if I get an absentee ballot in the mail? Can I still vote in person on November 3?
A: If you received an absentee ballot in the mail, but want to vote in person, hold onto that ballot. Typically, you can exchange your uncast absentee ballot for an in-person ballot, or complete your absentee ballot and hand it in at your polling place. Rules are different in each state. Check with your state or local election office for the specific procedures for where you live.
Q: How do I know who and what will be on the ballot on Election Day?
A: Voter guides and sample ballots can show who the candidates are and any state or local measures up for a vote. Reviewing them before Election Day can help you decide who to vote for and speed up your time in the voting booth.
Voter guides provide background information on candidates and ballot measures. They typically list the candidates for each office and offer details on each one’s experience and goals. They’ll also explain ballot measures, which are specific questions or issues you have the choice to approve or reject.
Sample ballots show you the candidates and any ballot measures as they will appear on your real ballot. These will not include detailed information as voter guides do.
You’re welcome to bring your notes and these tools with you to the polls on Election Day.
Have more questions about the 2020 election season?