Exercising your right to vote is critically important to making any change in our political system. We must do more to ensure that every eligible secular voter makes it to the polls.
Voting Before Election Day
The vast majority of states allow for some form of early voting, either in-person or with mail-in ballots. Thirty-three states plus Washington, D.C. allow for no-excuse early voting. (Fourteen states have no early voting and three state have all mail-in voting.)
Every state allows certain voters to obtain a mail-in absentee ballot. In 20 states, voters must provide an excuse (why they will be unable to vote in person) in order to receive a ballot in the mail. In 27 states and Washington, D.C., however, no excuse is required to obtain an absentee ballot. The remaining three states (Washington, Oregon, and Colorado) have all-mail voting.
For more information about early voting, including a state-by-state breakdown of laws, please visit the National Conference of State Legislatures website on Absentee and Early Voting here.
Voting on Election Day
When you go to vote on Election Day, here are a few things you need to know:
- Your polling place: where you go to vote. The League of Women Voters Education Fund has an excellent tool that will help you find information about your polling place and your registration status.
- What type of identification, if any, you need to show in order to vote. 19 states and Washington, D.C. do NOT require ID of any kind to vote. The other 31 states have varying requirements about the type of identification voters must show in order to cast a ballot. Many of these laws have changed since the last election. The National Conference of State Legislatures has an exhaustive list of requirements here.
- Who you’re voting for. All states allow voters to bring information to the polls to help you remember who you’re going to vote for. Many election boards will send out sample ballots before the election so you know what the ballot will look like when you arrive. Mark down who you’re planning on voting for on that ballot and bring it with you to the polls.