Know Your Voting Rights

Important elections are coming this fall. In addition to electing the next president of the United States, we will be voting for members of Congress, and state and local leaders. The outcome of these elections is likely to have a direct impact on your life, from the president, who will make lifetime appointments, to the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts to the city council members, who will decide whether or not you get that stoplight at the dangerous intersection near your home.

In some states, voting laws have changed. Make sure you prepare yourself in advance of the election. Here’s what you need to do and know:

  1. Register to vote. Many states have registration deadlines long before Election Day, so make sure you don’t miss your state’s deadline. It takes less than two minutes to register to vote online: www.workingamericavotes.org/register.
  2. If you are registered already, make sure to verify your registration status. This is especially important if you’ve moved. Do this before your state’s voter registration deadline.
  3. Find your polling place before Election Day. Sometimes these locations change between elections. (If you cannot look your polling place up in the Rock the Vote tool, click on “Contact Your Local Official” and look up the info there.)
  4. Know your polling place hours. Make sure to arrive at the polling place before it closes. Keep in mind that if you are in line at the time the place closes, you have the right to vote.
  5. Make sure you know what type of voter identification you must bring to the polling place if your state requires one. Make sure you bring that identification with you.
  6. If you require assistance in voting because you are blind, have a disability, or are unable to read, write or speak English, you have the right to that assistance in the voting booth from a person of your choosing (as long as it is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your union).
  7. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from people who work at the polls (that’s why they’re there) and check posted information signs if you have questions or need assistance.
  8. Vote early if that option is available in your state or municipality.