It seems that every election is “the most important, ever,” but the 2020 presidential contest appears to elevate the level of importance. This election is different because tensions are running high. New websites have been launched to encourage and support American voters.
While it is possible to register on states’ websites, it may not be easy, but at least two sites specialize in making the process easier. Moreover, there are apps to track a ballot’s activity.
The websites created to make it easier include, Plan Your Vote and All in: The Fight for Democracy.
Another site designed to assist military personnel and Americans overseas is Overseas Vote. The first site offers a simple and self-explanatory process, whereas the second is a site for a film, users must scroll down to find the voter’s assistant links.
Plan Your Vote
On Plan Your Vote, users will find art that can be shared, voter registration and verify registration features, a person can request an absentee ballot, and sign up for voting reminders.
The registration tab opens a form that, once filled out the user, will be automatically redirected to their state’s registration form. The same happens for verifying one’s registration is up to date; however, this feature allows the user to update their information. If the user is not registered, the option to register is offered on that page.
When requesting an absentee ballot, if the state allows an online request, the user will be redirected. However, if a state is automatically mailing out ballots, then that notification will alert the user. The page also allows the registered voter to request their ballot be mailed to a different mailing address — especially useful for those living in temporary locations due to fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.
Users in Ohio will not be able to request a mail-in-ballot using this site’s application since Ohio requires a written application — absentee ballots included. Also notable are the five states denying absentee ballots to those using fear of the coronavirus as an excuse. Indiana, Louisianna, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas need requests to list a different reason, so if planning to ask for an absentee ballot, it would be best to use another excuse.
All in: The Fight for Democracy
The All in: The Fight for Democracy website requires the user to scroll down on the home page to “The Voting Action Hub.” Below are the nine options available:
- Register to Vote — allows the user to register.
- Check Your Status — will make it easy to verify voter registration.
- Commit to Vote — “A reminder to vote can make all the difference, especially when it comes from a friend. Pledge to vote, then let us know the three friends you’ll remind to vote before Election Day,” according to the site.
- Request a Mail-in-Ballot — fill out an application for a ballot to be mailed to the user and returned to the state’s election board by mail.
- How to Vote by State — redirects the user to another site, Rock the Vote. Here users will find an interactive map that will pull up the next election date, if early voting is allowed and when it begins, as well as information on registration deadlines, and the last postmark accepted for mail-in-ballots.
- Get Election Reminders — making this commitment will unlock emails sent as reminders to cast a ballot in upcoming elections.
- Find Your Polling Place — this option redirects the user to a list of states. Once a state is chosen, the link will take them to their state’s election website.
- See What’s On Your Ballot — Input an address and other information to bring up everything on the ballot for that region.
- Know Your Rights — this link redirects users to an ACLU page with the same name. Here voters can make sure their ballot is counted and learn how to protect their voice.
States’ government websites where citizens can verify their ballot was accepted and counted. However, this may be limited to states with a history of handling mail-in-ballots.
To find out, go to Google and search: “How do I know if my ballot was counted in Oregon,” for example.
The USPS offers a free service called Informed Delivery. Postal customers can sign up for daily emails that show photos of the mail due in that day’s delivery, informing customers when their ballot will be in the mailbox.
A user of this service says, “it seems as though it has been correct lately even with the changes at the post office processing and reduced delivery.”
Voting advocates advise voting early, if possible. Remember, when a person does not vote, they are essentially voting for the opposition. Every vote does count.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Plan Your Vote Website
U.S. Vote Foundation: Overseas Vote
All In: Fight for Democracy: Voting Action Hub
ACLU: KNOW YOUR VOTING RIGHTS
The Washington Post: How to track your ballot like a UPS package
The Washington Post: At least 84% of American voters can cast ballots by mail in the fall
Featured Image Courtesy of Mike Cohen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image by Hank Willis Thomas Courtesy of Plan Your Vote’s Website – Used With Permission
Second Inset Image Courtesy of U.S. Vote Foundation – Used With Permission
Third Inset Image Courtesy of Cathy Milne-Ware
Fourth Inset Image by Guerrilla Girls Courtesy of Plan Your Vote’s Website – Used With Permission