Basic Information about the Election
Action Corps and Getting Out The Vote
How does getting out the vote correspond with Action Corps’ mission?
As Action Corps organizers, we believe in people power and we envision a world where everyone has a seat at the table where important decisions are being made. The 2020 election is a moment in time where much is at stake – from the global COVID-19 pandemic to U.S. complicity in the war on Yemen to racial justice to climate change and food security. These issues affect many people around the world and as American citizens and citizens of the world, we need to elect leaders that will create a brighter future for all. Grassroots organizing and humanitarian advocacy is at the core of our work, and providing information on how Americans can exercise their right to vote is in accordance with that work.
What can I do to get out the vote?
Action Corps is a 501C3 non-partisan organization who does not endorse any candidates. If you would like to action and get out the vote as an Action Corps organizer, here are examples of non-partisan organizations that have opportunities to do so:
Rock the Vote has a relational organizing app, where you can contact 10 of your family members and friends and have them contact 10 of their contacts to make sure people have all the information they need to vote as well as a plan. It has preloaded calls to action as well as shareable resources. r
You can phone bank with Reclaim the Vote to fight voter suppression in key states where disenfranchisement is high.
You can text bank with When We All Vote to get voters registered and make a plan to vote - texting teams text thousands of people every Tuesday and Thursday!
Phone bank with low-income voters in key states where their vote can have an impact with the Poor People’s Campaign.
Fight voter suppression by signing up to be an election protection worker with Election Protection.
How can I share information about voting on social media?
Social media is an effective way to share information about registration, voting, and your rights. You can follow Action Corps and the organizations listed above on Facebook and Twitter, sharing content, and using hashtags to expand your reach. You can also use information from these FAQs and please always remember to double check your sources you are sharing from! Action Corps Twitter handle is @theactioncorps.
Processes and Important Deadlines
How do I know if I am registered to vote?
Check to see if you are registered to vote at https://www.rockthevote.org/how-to-vote/am-i-registered-to-vote/. You will be asked to enter your name, address, email, and date of birth. Once you input this information, it will show whether you are registered to vote, as well as important dates and deadlines for voting in your state.
If I am not registered to vote, how do I register?
You can register to vote online at https://www.rockthevote.org/how-to-vote/register-to-vote/. Registration takes less than 2 minutes. In most states, you will need an address from which you plan to vote and an ID number, either a driver’s license or a social security number, if you do not have the former. IF you have neither a current driver’s license, state-issued ID, and have never been issued a social security number, in most states you can still register by indicating on the registration form that you have neither ID number – some states may require an affidavit or other documentation. If you do not want to register online, you can download the National Mail Voter Registration Form, fill it out, and mail it or hand it in to the location listed for your state: https://www.eac.gov/voters/national-mail-voter-registration-form. For voter registration rules by state, visit https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-rules/.
When can I vote?
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd – some states offer early voting days, where you can go to your polling place in-person and vote. Be aware that where you vote early may not be the same location as where you would vote on Election Day. For information on if and how your state conducts early voting, visit https://www.rockthevote.org/how-to-vote/nationwide-voting-info/early-voting/. To find your locations for early voting and Election Day voting, visit http://nass.org/can-i-vote/find-your-polling-place.
What is the deadline for voter registration for the 2020 election?
Voter registration deadlines vary by state, and you can find your state rules here: https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/. You can register to vote in-person, by mail, or online.
What is an absentee ballot?
An absentee ballot is a ballot submitted by a person who cannot vote at their polling place in-person on election day or during early voting periods. An absentee ballot is requested through one’s state government, which accepts or rejects the application. When someone is approved to vote absentee, they are mailed a ballot that they fill out and return, usually by mail. Please note that there are qualifying reasons for requesting an absentee ballot and you generally have to list a reason for requesting.
How do I apply for an absentee ballot?
Processes for applying for absentee ballots vary by state, but generally can be done in-person, by mail, or online. Please visit https://www.rockthevote.org/how-to-vote/nationwide-voting-info/absentee-voting/ for rules in your specific states. There are some states that require an “approved excuse” for voting absentee, but many states are allowing voters to check certain boxes (“temporary illness”, “state of emergency”, “physical illness/disability”, “COVID-19”) for absentee ballots this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some absentee ballots need to be notarized, which means that you must sign the ballot in front of a notary public, after which they will stamp and sign the document. Examples of some places that notarize are banks, law firms, shipping stores, and libraries. If your state requires notarization, bring your completed UNSIGNED ballot with you, any other necessary documents listed on the form, and a form of payment if it is not free. Find more information on how to find a notary at https://www.nationalnotary.org/resources-for/public/find-a-notary. Because of COVID-19, there are also some options for notarizing remotely. Keep in mind all the steps you need to take for your particular state as you are trying to meet deadlines.
What is the deadline for applying for and sending in an absentee ballot?
Deadlines for absentee ballot submissions differ by state. You can visit https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot-deadlines/ to find what your state deadlines are AND to request an absentee ballot once you click on your state. There are deadlines for both the ballot applications and for receipt of ballots. Applications for ballots can be filled out in-person, by mail, and online. Please note that when a ballot needs to be postmarked by a certain deadline, it needs to be stamped at the post office on that day to be counted.
What if I voted absentee in the primaries and now want to vote-in person?
You might be able to vote in-person on Election Day, even if you received a ballot in the mail. Typically, you can take your absentee ballot to the designated polling place on Election Day, and either complete it and hand it in or you’ll exchange your uncast ballot for an in-person ballot and hand it in. If you forget to bring your absentee ballot with you, you may be able to cast a “provisional ballot” - provisional ballots are counted once your election officials verify your voter status. Check with your state or local election office for specific procedures: https://www.usa.gov/election-office.
How is an absentee ballot different from a mail-in ballot?
For a lot of states “absentee ballot” and “mail-in ballot” are terms that are used interchangeably. However there is a difference - some states conduct their elections through a mail-in process that’s referred to as “all-mail voting” – registered voters in these states automatically receive a “mail ballot”, which is sent to their address before Election Day, and mailed back by the voter or deposited at a voting location or secure dropbox by a certain time on Election Day. States that send ballots automatically to registered voters ahead of the 2020 election are Vermont, Nevada, Washington D.C., California, New Jersey, Colorado, Hawaii, Utah, Washington, and Oregon.
How do I find my polling place?
You can look up your polling place by visiting the portal on the National Associations of Secretaries of State: http://nass.org/can-i-vote/find-your-polling-place. Please note that your early voting location, if your state has early voting, may be different than your Election Day voting location.
What Are My Rights?
Do I need IDs to vote?
A form of ID is required in most states to vote. In many states where ID is not required generally, it is required for first time voters. You can find your state’s voter ID laws here: https://www.rockthevote.org/how-to-vote/nationwide-voting-info/voter-id-laws/.
How do I research who is on my ballot prior to voting?
Many polling places will not allow you to take out your phone once you are in there so you should plan to research who will be on your ballot and what their positions are on important issues, as well as their positions and voting records if they have held office before. You can visit ballotpedia.org to do this research ahead of time - you just need to enter your address and candidates for all offices will be listed.
What happens if I am in line once the polls close?
Many states have laws requiring that every person in line when the polls close are able to vote – you are entitled to cast your ballot even if the line is so long that you must wait until after the scheduled time for the polls to close. You can find the scheduled hours for your polling place by visiting the portal on the National Associations of Secretaries of State: http://nass.org/can-i-vote/find-your-polling-place.
Can I get time off to vote?
The majority of states have time-off vote laws, also referred to as voter-leave laws, and have different requirements and exceptions for employers and employees. Your employer may also offer leave to vote even if your state does not. This comprehensive list of state leave laws was made available for the 2018 midterm elections, but given changes that may have happened in some states over the last two years, your best bet is to google your state’s voter-leave laws! https://www.businessinsider.com/can-i-leave-work-early-to-vote-2016-11