Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Every vote matters.
Elections, at all levels of government, can be extraordinarily close.
In 2020, only six votes separated the candidates in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. In 2016, only 16 votes separated the top two primary candidates for Arizona's 5th Congressional district. (A recount later expanded the lead to 27 votes.) And, our nation's election history has seen many races determined by a single vote.
Your vote matters — and so do the votes of your family, neighbors, and friends. Vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8!
How can I vote?
Depending on where you live, you can vote by mail, by ballot drop-off, or in-person.
Voting rules vary by state, territory, and other jurisdictions, as each election office sets its own voting procedures. Under the U.S. Constitution, federal and state elections are administered by states and local agencies.
With ongoing changes to voting requirements and processes, it’s important you stay updated on the specific provisions of your local election office.
- For the most up-to-date voting information, including how to obtain a mail-in ballot, voter registration deadlines, early voting locations, and where you can vote in-person, contact your state or local election office.
- If you live outside of the United States, please visit the U.S. Vote Foundation for resources.
- To learn who can and cannot vote, check USA.gov's election resources or contact your state or local election office.
In many states and U.S. territories, voters have two options:
1. Vote using a mail-in ballot.
- How to get a mail-in ballot: All states offer absentee voting (also known as “vote-by-mail” or “mail-in voting”), although rules on eligibility and process differ by state, territory, or other jurisdiction.
In some states, you must first request an application, and fill it out and return it, before you can receive your mail-in ballot.
Some states will automatically send mail-in ballots to all registered voters.
If you need to request an absentee ballot, do not wait for the mail-in ballot request deadline. Request your ballot early so that you have enough time to receive the ballot, fill it out, and mail it back in time for it to be eligible to be counted.
- Correctly fill out your mail-in ballot: Use only the official ballot you received.
Read all instructions before you begin marking your ballot.
Fill in the ovals or squares in the manner requested. Do not make notes, drawings, or other stray marks on your ballot. Doing so could invalidate (“spoil”) your ballot.
Sign your name in the correct place(s). Some mail-in ballots require more than one signature. Missing signatures are one of the most common reasons for mail-in ballots to be rejected.
- Mail in your ballot before the deadline: You may need to mail your ballot before Tuesday, Nov. 8, in order for it to be counted. Some states require the ballot to be received by Election Day.
The U.S. Postal Service recommends you send in your ballot at least seven days before the specified deadline.
You must use the envelope provided when mailing back your ballot. Seal the envelope.
Affix the correct postage amount, if postage is needed.
- Or, deposit your mail-in ballot in an official ballot drop box or polling place: In many states, you can personally bring your ballot to locations designated by your election office.
Special ballot drop boxes are offered in some states. You must deposit your ballot in the official drop box before the deadline set by your election office, which may be when polls close on Election Day.
2. Vote in-person.
- To see if your state or U.S. territory offers early in-person voting, use the National Conference of State Legislatures’ early in-person voting resource or contact your state or local election office.
- States may have changed or reduced polling locations since the previous election. If you choose to vote in-person on Tuesday, Nov. 8, confirm your polling location with your election office before you head to the polls.
- Check if you need to bring a specific form of identification. (Two-thirds of states require ID.)
- See the section on in-person voting for additional information.
Can I vote earlier than Tuesday, Nov. 8?
In nearly all states, yes. (Vote early, if you can.)
Early in-person voting is offered in many states, some U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, with specific dates varying by jurisdiction.
- Learn if and when early voting begins for you by using the National Conference of State Legislatures’ early in-person voting resource or contacting your state or local election office.
If you’ve already received your absentee ballot (also known as vote-by-mail or mail-in ballots), you can mail it in now or drop it off at designated locations.
In order to be counted, your vote-by-mail ballot must be received before the deadline set by your election office.
How can I check if my vote-by-mail ballot was received?
Track your ballot’s status online, in most states.
You may be able to track the status of your vote-by-mail ballot through a website or app. Some states and U.S. territories may also offer text or email alerts as your ballot is processed.
- Find out if your election office provides services for tracking mail-in ballots by using Vote.org’s ballot tracker resource or contacting your state or local election office.
Voters in jurisdictions that have no ballot tracking systems can inquire on the status of their vote-by-mail ballot with their local election office.
I don’t remember if I registered to vote. Can I register now?
Every state and U.S. territory, except North Dakota, requires voters to register.
Voter registration deadlines vary by jurisdiction, with some states allowing voters to register on Election Day, while other jurisdictions require registration weeks before Election Day.
- Check if you’re registered and/or see when your registration deadline is by using Vote.gov’s registration resources or contacting your state or local election office.
You can also register to vote or update your voter registration by postal mail by using the National Mail Voter Registration Form. The form is available in 21 languages, including Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Yup’ik, and more.
I like to vote in-person. Where do I vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8?
At a vote center, or your designated polling location, which may have changed since you previously voted.
Vote centers differ from neighborhood precinct-based polling places in that any voter in that jurisdiction can cast their vote there, regardless of their voter registration address. Vote centers are available on Election Day in 18 states. (Some states also operate vote centers for early in-person voting.)
- Find out if and where your local election office operates vote centers by using the National Conference of State Legislatures’ voting center resource or contacting your state or local election office.
If you choose to vote at a traditional polling place on Election Day, it is important to go to your current, designated polling location, because other locations will not have your name on their voter roster.
- Find your designated in-person polling place by using the National Association of Secretaries of State’s look-up resource or contacting your state or local election office.
- Polling locations are based on your voter registration address. They can be located in schools, fire stations, and other spaces. Your polling location is not permanent and may differ from election to election, for example, as a result of changes to precinct boundaries or number of registered voters.
- If you do not go to your designated polling location, you may be able to vote by provisional ballot. Nearly all states provide provisional ballots, which voters can request at polling places, for example, if their name cannot be found on the poll list. The reasons for accepting and the process for handling provisional ballots vary by jurisdiction.
- If the line is long, please remain in line. Polls will remain open as long as people begin waiting in line before the poll's scheduled close time. Polling hours vary by location. They are generally open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Before you head to the polls, check to see if you need to bring identification. Many states require some type of ID for all voters, with specific rules varying by state, territory, and other jurisdictions.
- Check if your state requires identification, and if so, photo or non-photo ID.
- Voters who are not carrying the type of required ID to the polls may still be able to cast a provisional ballot, though additional steps may be required (for example, presenting the required ID at an election office within a specified period of time).
- If you are a first-time voter, bring ID with you to the polls. Federal law requires first-time voters, who did not register in-person, to present identification at the polls.
What will be on my ballot?
You are deciding who will represent you in Congress, in your state legislatures, and more.
Everyone will be voting for who will represent them in the U.S. House of Representatives in this election.
- Check your state or local election office to see if your sample ballot is available online or can be requested.
How sample ballots are provided varies by election office. If you're registered to vote, many will mail you a sample ballot and voter information guide about 2–5 weeks before Election Day. Some may make sample ballots available at polling locations, while others publish them in local newspapers.
Voter information guides include candidate statements and descriptions of ballot initiatives. Voters can learn more through resources such as Ballotpedia.org and the opinion section of your local newspapers.
When will we find out election results?
Two words: Be patient.
With the anticipated large number of mail-in ballots, election results are unlikely to be available as promptly as we’ve come to expect.
Some states begin counting mail-in ballots prior to Election Day and may have their results shortly after polls close.
But many may need days or weeks after Election Day before they are able to report results. In some jurisdictions, election officials are permitted to only begin counting ballots on Election Day.
I have more questions.Your state or local election office has answers.
Under the U.S. Constitution, federal and state elections are administered by local election offices. Each election office sets its own rules and provides its own voting information for their jurisdiction.
The right to vote is at the heart of our democracy. Vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8!
As you cast your vote, don’t let your friends get left behind.
Vote — and urge your family, friends, and neighbors to vote!