Watch the Bipartisan Policy Center’s latest animated video to learn about the top three changes you should expect to see around voting this year.
We’re getting close to November 3rd: Election Day.
But be prepared – things will be different this November. Why? Here are three reasons.
Because so many people will vote by mail this year, it will take a lot longer to count ballots and report results. This is not a bad thing. It simply means our election officials are working carefully and not rushing to judgment.
But beware of disinformation campaigns rushing to fill the airwaves and social media with claims of fraud, abuse, and other shenanigans. Consider the source, and remember, the “calls” you hear from media on Election Night are not final results. Make sure that what you’re hearing is based on OFFICIAL announcements from local and state election officials. Everything else is just noise.
You may have always voted at the school or community center down the street. But this year, a lot of neighborhood voting sites are being consolidated into larger polling places to keep staff and voters safe. You should get a notification if your polling place has moved, but you can always check at CanIVote.org. CanIVote.org is a NONPARTISAN site hosted by the National Association of Secretaries of State, which—along with BPC and others—also hosts the #trustedinfo2020 campaign against disinformation.
And yes, consolidated polling places and other public health precautions may mean longer lines if you vote in person.
Because of the pandemic, many states are expanding absentee voting. Even before the pandemic, five states [CO, HI, OR, UT, WA] already sent every registered voter a ballot in the mail about three weeks before election day.
Another 29 states and the District of Columbia have what’s called a “no excuse” absentee voting system. That means you don’t need any reason to vote by mail – you just need to fill out an absentee ballot request form. Many states will mail them to you if you’re registered to vote, but if you’re not sure what your state does, go to CanIVote.org.
And even if your state requires a reason for by-mail voting, many have expanded those excuses to include concerns about the coronavirus.
In many states you can already request your absentee ballot. Do your part to flatten the curve of absentee voting by requesting and casting your ballot early.
Voting in the middle of a pandemic will be unlike anything we’ve experienced in the past century. But understanding your rights and being prepared ahead of time can help make sure your voice will be heard at the ballot box.