Learn more about how to exercise your voter rights, resist voter intimidation efforts, and access disability-related accommodations and language assistance at the polls. For help at the polls, call the non-partisan Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Select a Scenario:
States have different voter registration deadlines and requirements, so make sure you are registered well in advance of Election Day. Voter registration deadlines vary and some states allow individuals to register for the first time and cast ballots on Election Day.
What to do
Every state offers options to vote in-person on Election Day, even those that primarily conduct elections by mail.
What to do
Find your polling place or vote center and its hours of operation.
Your state may require you to bring an ID or bring documents to show your residence, especially if you’re voting for the first time. Make sure you’re prepared.
What to do
Learn what materials you’ll need to bring with you to the polling place on Election Day.
If you cannot vote in-person on Election Day, you may be able to vote early or by absentee vote-by-mail ballot.
Some states allow any voter to vote absentee; others have stricter requirements.
What to do
Learn about your options to exercise absentee or early voting in your state.
If the polls close while you’re still in line, stay in line – you have the right to vote.
If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one.
If the machines are down at your polling place, ask for a paper ballot.
If you run into any problems or have questions on Election Day, call the Election Protection Hotline:
Voters are entitled to a provisional ballot, even if they aren’t in the poll book.
After Election Day, election officials must investigate whether you are qualified to vote and registered. If you are qualified and registered, they will count your provisional ballot.
What to do
Ask the poll worker to double check for your name on the list of registered voters. Make sure to spell your name out for the poll worker.
If your name is not on the list, ask if there is a supplemental list of voters.
If the poll worker still cannot find your name, confirm that you are at the correct polling place:
Request that the poll workers check a statewide system (if one is available) to see if you are registered to vote at a different polling place.
If the poll worker does not have access to a statewide system, ask them to call the main election office.
You can also call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and ask for help verifying your proper polling place.
If you are registered at a different location, in most instances you will have to travel to that location to cast a regular ballot.
If the poll worker still cannot find your name or if you cannot travel to the correct polling place, ask for a provisional ballot.
If you are turned away or denied a provisional ballot, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español).
Report your experience to local election officials.
Under federal law, all polling places for federal elections must be fully accessible to older adults and voters with disabilities. Simply allowing curbside voting is not enough to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements.
In federal elections, every polling place must have at least one voting system that allows voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently. Usually, this is a machine that can read the ballot to you (for people with vision disabilities or dyslexia), and let you vote by pushing buttons (for people with mobility disabilities).
Under federal law, voters with disabilities and voters who have difficulty reading or writing English have the right to receive in-person help at the polls from the person of their choice. This helper cannot be the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer, or an agent or officer of the voter’s union. The helper must respect the voter’s privacy, not looking at the voter’s ballot unless the voter asks them to do so.
Election officials (including poll workers) must make reasonable accommodations as needed to help you vote.
Election officials must provide you with help if it’s possible for them to do so.
A voter with a mental disability cannot be turned away from the polls because a poll worker thinks they are not ‘qualified’ to vote.
What to do
You can bring a family member, friend, or another person of your choice to assist you at the polls. Do not bring your employer, or an agent of your employer or union.
If you bring a person to assist you, let the poll workers know that when you check in. They may ask you to swear under oath that you have a disability and that you have asked that person to help you. Your helper may also be required to sign a form swearing that they did not tell you how to vote.
If there are long lines and you have a physical or mental health condition or disability that makes it difficult for you to stand in line, tell a poll worker.
Tell election officials what you need. For example, if it’s hard for you to stand, they should provide you with a chair or a place to sit while you wait. If the crowds or noise are hard for you, election officials can find a quiet place for you to wait and call you when it’s your turn to vote.
If you are not able to enter your polling place because the pathway to it is not fully accessible, ask poll workers for curbside assistance. Also call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report the issue.
If you have difficulty using the materials provided to make your ballot selections, review, or cast your ballot, let a poll worker know and ask for the help you need. Accessibility is the law.
If you face any challenges in voting privately and independently or are unable to cast your vote, report the problem to the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Trained attorneys can assist you and make sure that other voters do not experience the same problem.
Find detailed voting guides at Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.
For a toolkit on voting with a disability, visit the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
Visit SABE’s GoVoter Project for accessible trainings on how to exercise your rights as a voter with a disability.
Take a course on polling place accessibility requirements at the Rocky Mountain ADA Center.
For voting in formation in American Sign Language, visit SignVote.
Under federal law, voters who have difficulty reading or writing English may receive in-person assistance at the polls from the person of their choice. This person cannot be the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer, or an agent or officer of the voter’s union.
Counties covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act are required to provide bilingual assistance to voters in specific languages. This means that they must provide poll workers who speak certain languages, and make all election materials and election-related information available in those languages. Check whether your county is required to provide bilingual election assistance in a language you speak.
What to do
You can bring a family member, friend, or other person of your choice to assist you at the polls. Do not bring your employer, or an agent of your employer or union.
If you live in a county that’s required to provide bilingual voting assistance for a language you speak, you can request oral assistance from a bilingual poll worker and ask for voting materials, such as a ballot, in that language.
If you have trouble voting due to lack of English fluency, call one of these hotlines:
Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 1-888-839-8682
Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US / 1-844-925-5287
English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE / 1-866-687-8683.
Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Vietnamese): 1-888-API-VOTE / 1-888-274-8683
For detailed guidance on bilingual voting assistance, visit Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
Examples of voter intimidation
Aggressively questioning voters about their citizenship, criminal record, or other qualifications to vote.
Falsely representing oneself as an elections official.
Displaying false or misleading signs about voter fraud and related criminal penalties.
Other forms of harassment, particularly harassment targeting non-English speakers and voters of color.
Spreading false information about voter requirements.
You do not need to speak English to vote, in any state.
You do not need to pass a test to vote, in any state.
Some states do not require voters to present photo identification.
It’s illegal to intimidate voters and a federal crime to “intimidate, threaten, [or] coerce … any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of [that] other person to vote or to vote as he may choose.”
What to do if you experience voter intimidation
In many states, you can give a sworn statement to the poll worker that you satisfy the qualifications to vote in your state, and then proceed to cast a ballot.
Report intimidation to the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español).
Report intimidation to your local election officials. Their offices will be open on Election Day.