Get Ready to Vote in the General Election

Peeradach R /
Peeradach R /

The right to vote is a fundamental aspect of democracy, and if you’re not happy with the way the country is headed, the only way to make a difference is to make sure that you participate in the General Election. Depending on the state you live, there are a few different processes for casting your vote. Additionally, 37 states require that you show some kind of photo ID before you can be given access to a ballot.

There are three options to choose from.

  1. Voting in Person on Election Day

The most traditional way of casting a vote in the United States is to vote in person at a designated polling place on Election Day. You must first ensure that you are registered to vote in the state where you reside. Each state has its own specific requirements and deadlines for voter registration.

Once registered to vote, you will receive a notification card in the mail, which will provide you with information about your assigned polling place, as well as the date and hours of operation for the polls on Election Day.

If you miss the hours or there are long lines, there’s no other option. You simply miss out on being able to cast your vote.

  1. Early Voting

In addition to voting in person on Election Day, many states also offer early voting as an alternative method by which registered voters can cast their ballots early.

Early voting typically begins several weeks before Election Day and extends through the day immediately preceding Election Day. During this period of early voting, registered voters are generally allowed to cast their ballots at any early voting location within their county or voting jurisdiction without needing to go to a specific assigned polling place.

Especially if you have been burned by long lines on Election Day in the past, this is one of the easiest ways to ensure you get your vote cast.

  1. Absentee Voting

Another alternative method you can explore to cast your vote is through absentee voting.

Absentee voting refers to the process by which registered voters who are unable to physically go to a polling place and vote in person on Election Day can still exercise their right to vote by casting their ballots by mail or by depositing their ballots in secure drop boxes located throughout their community, county, or voting jurisdiction.

The state laws can vary dramatically in terms of being given access to absentee voting. In some instances, you may have to provide a reason why you can’t vote in person. 28 states have a “no excuse” absentee voting system, which means that you can request and cast an absentee ballot and drop it in the mail without providing any kind of excuse or reason.

There are also eight states that will send out ballots without the need to request them.

If you’re not sure what the rules are in your state, start your research now at