The countdown to the U.S. presidential election on November 3 is only a few weeks away, and it's time to make your vote count. No matter your political views, the U.S. 2020 elections mark a pivotal moment in our country’s history. Your vote makes a real difference and could even be the one that shifts the direction of your state's electoral representatives.
From the young generation yearning to amplify their causes to older voters looking forward to policy changes that positively impact their lives and even the next generation of American citizens, learning how to register as a voter, how to vote, where to vote and when to vote in the U.S. presidential election 2020 is critical.
Here's what you should know about the U.S. election 2020:
Early voting started on October 6, 2020, and more people are expected to vote in this year's election. The question is, have you registered to vote? Maybe you need to change a few details? Voter registrations rules are unique to each state, so make sure to check with your state or local election office for the most up-to-date and detailed information for your location. You'll need to update or change your voter registration details if you have:
Changed your name
Moved within your state
Want to change your political party affiliation
If you've moved permanently to another state or are planning to move, you'll need to register to vote on that new state. Make sure to submit your new changes before your state's voter registration deadline, which may also vary from state to state. You can make changes to your registration online, via mail, or by phone. Be ready to provide your state ID number, driver's license number, or social security number.
There are varying age requirements for voter registration across the U.S. While 18 years is the legal age to vote, pre-registration and voter registration rules and age vary from state to state. For accurate information on state voter registration requirements, click here.
How to Register to Vote
In 49 states across the U.S., eligible citizens must be registered to vote except for North Dakota, where you're not required to register to vote ahead of an election. Eligible citizens can appear at the polls and show identification and be permitted to vote. Across the other states, eligible citizens can register to vote in several ways - some options vary from state to state:
Fill out a voter registration form at the local elections office
Register as a voter at the Department of Motor Vehicles
Register at other state agencies that provide public assistance
Register through a third-party voter registration organization, such as a registration drive conducted by a political party or the League of Women Voters
Online voter registration
How Do I Vote?
No matter how you plan to vote, it's worth planning ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and safety precautions may have impacted or even changed your voting timeline or procedure, so you need to be well informed to make the process seamless for you. Here, we provide you with helpful steps to help you vote in the U.S. elections 2020:
First, check your voting status at Vote.org - it's free and will only take you 20 seconds
Choose your voting method - by mail or in-person at the polls (Every state has different rules regarding how you can vote, so make sure to check with your state or local election offices or online.
Do your research so you can know the candidates and what they stand for before making a decision
Want to become a poll worker in your community? Sign up here
Understanding Vote by Mail and Vote in Person
Each state allows eligible voters to cast their votes in person or by mail, to some degree. During normal situations, voters cast their ballots at polling stations based on their voter registration location. Suppose you can't be physically present at a polling station for whatever reason. In that case, you can request an absentee ballot application and provide a valid reason why you won't be able to vote in person. Once approved, you're sent a physical ballot that you can complete, sign and return by mail.
If you're planning to vote in person, it's critical to know the protective measures in place where you'll be voting - remember that your health and that of others matters:
Are voters and poll workers required to wear masks?
Will poll workers be wearing additional protective gear like face shields and gloves?
Are there separate points of entry and exit?
Will there be social distancing markets and safe barriers visible?
How frequently is the location being sanitized?
What's the space between the voting booths?
What You Should Know About Absentee and Early Voting
Due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, states across the U.S. are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail in this year's election as well as allowing early voting. It's important to understand that every state has different absentee and early voting rules. You should understand and follow the rules of your state.
How to Vote from Abroad as a U.S. Citizen
If you're a U.S. citizen living or traveling abroad, you can still cast your vote. So long as you're 18 or older, you're eligible to vote. The process is simple:
Register to vote if you haven't
Wait for your absentee ballot
When your voting ballot arrives, you can fill it out and send it in
Whichever method you use to send your ballot, make sure to send it to the appropriate local election officials in time to meet your state's deadline. Your vote matters no matter where you live.
Helpful Resources for Mail-in Voting
Many organizations across the U.S. are working to make the voting process seamless for everyone. Here's a list of some recommended resources for mail-in voting:
Vote.org - This is the go-to place for end-to-end information on voting in the U.S. elections 2020. It's the best resource for checking registration, registering as a voter, understanding voting rules and how and where to vote.
Better Know a Ballot - This site offers a simple-to-read guide that compiles all the basic steps you need to follow to get to the polls. Find links directly to your state's election and voter information.
I Will Vote - Find information on voting in your state, how to register, and the most important links. It's a quick reference point to review voter registration requirements and deadlines, early voting dates and vote-by-mail details for your state.
Up to Us - A mobile-friendly site that's accessible through a single link for checking registration status in less than 30 seconds and registering to vote in your state. You also get text updates and reminders.
The Bottom Line: Show Up
Voting this year will be different - Americans will be voting during a global pandemic. Despite the pandemic's unprecedented outcome and health concerns, it's more important than ever to show up and vote to support your presidential candidate. This election will determine how we recover from the pandemic as a nation together.
At SheBossTalk, we encourage all women in business to go ahead and make their vote account and use their voice to encourage others to vote, no matter who or what party you support - because it's your right to vote. Our mission is to use our platform to shine a spotlight on SHE BOSSES worldwide to help them take center stage, amplify their voices and share their stories.