With the general election drawing close, it’s important to know your rights in case your vote is challenged.
The best way to ensure that your vote is counted is to advocate for yourself. I’m a civil rights attorney and lecturer for the University of Southern California’s undergraduate civil rights advocacy initiative, Agents of Change. Here are several straightforward ways to ensure your vote is counted and two practical remedies for you to consider if your vote remains challenged.
A major part of ensuring that you are able to vote is doing the necessary preparation before you even get to the polling place.
Are you registered to vote? Check it out
Before you vote, you need to ensure that you’re registered to vote. You can verify your registration status using this tool. If you can’t use an online tool, then call your local election office or a voter help line like the ones listed in the hotline section below.
If you find you’re not registered, you can use this tool from the National Conference of State Legislatures to find your state’s online registration application. If you need to do this in person, then call your local election office for instructions.
At this point, you may have missed your state’s deadline for voter registration. But it may not be too late to register.
Many states allow same-day registration at the polling site. You can find your state’s same-day voter laws detailed here. Ask the poll worker, at the correct polling location, for a same-day registration form; complete the form, and then ask for a “conditional ballot.” A conditional ballot allows election officials to count your vote after verifying your voter eligibility. If you can’t research online, you can call your local election office to find out if you can register on Election Day.