ELECTION: How to make sure that your vote is valid
From news of malfunctioning machines and registration purges to ominous tweetsfrom the about voter fraud, there are plenty of reasons to be anxious about what you might face for your vote to be valid. But don’t let the chaos psych you out of exercising your right to vote.
We talked with election officials and voting experts to identify the most common issues voters face and how to make your valid.
When you show up to vote, a poll worker checks that your name and correct information are on the voter roll.
Your polling location
The hours of operation at that polling place
If the polling place is large, where parking is available, and which building contains the voting machines. Select a location.
If you find yourself in the wrong polling place, the best thing to do is to leave and go where you’re supposed to vote. Leave yourself enough time that you can still make it even if you have to go to a different polling place and wait in line again.
Patrick said that it’s easy to underestimate the amount of time it will take to vote and that voters should give themselves plenty of time to find the right location and cast their ballot.
While we’re on the subject of long lines: Election officials are expecting heavy turnout on Election Day. Experts say that wait times longer than a half hour will cause some voters to abandon the effort. Don’t let that happen to you!
If you tend to vote after work, you can expect to be able to vote even if the line looks like it is so long you’ll still be in it after polls have closed. Most states have laws protecting this right, explaining exactly how the last person in line is determined, and poll workers are instructed to allow every person already in line when the polls close to vote.
Beware of Misinformation
Misinformation about voting is a common dirty trick in campaigns going back generations. Be on the lookout for fraudulent mailers, flyers, robocalls and especially SMS messages.
If you see any information connected to how you can vote, double-check the source. Don’t re-share that information.
What You Can Do NowKnow Your Info
You can fight bad information by knowing the right information. If you’ve read the previous section, you are already on your way to doing that! All voters should know their polling location, hours of operation and voters card requirements.
Find Out What’s on Your Ballot Right Now
You might be surprised on Election Day when you see just how much is on your ballot. Some states have local judicial elections, municipal races and lengthy ballot measures to vote on in addition to candidates.
Missed candidate names
According to the CCD, voters can miss candidates when the list is so long that it’s split into two columns. Make sure you aren’t missing any candidates before you select one.
Missed voting choices on the back of ballots
If your ballot is just a single page, turn it over. There could be more on the other side.
Incorrectly marked selections
Read the directions to know the proper way to mark your ballot. Some voters will mark a “check” when they should actually fill in the box completely.
Sometimes, selecting more than one candidate in a race will void your vote. If you accidentally mark the wrong candidate, don’t try to correct it yourself. Let a poll worker know. They should be able to void your ballot and give you a new one.
If All Else Fails, Call for Help
If there are any issues you encounter when you vote, you should make your poll workers aware of the situation and give them a chance to fix it.
Follow the above listed steps and make your votes valid.