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Here's How to Avoid Getting Tripped Up When Voting in the 2018 Midterms

October 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, Independent Media Institute

This is what you should know if something goes wrong on Election Day.

Editor’s Note: The 2018 midterm elections are quickly approaching. These non-presidential elections historically give voters a chance to change the country’s course. They will decide whether or not Republicans keep a majority in Congress, important governor’s races and more.

A Voter’s Guide to the 2018 Election, written by Steven Rosenfeld, senior writing fellow of Voting Booth, is intended to help new voters, infrequent voters and veteran voters have a better idea of what they must do to be able to vote and have their vote counted. The following is an excerpt from the guide, available in full here.

Polling Place Issues

Sometimes voting is a breeze. You show up, sign in and vote, and that’s it. Other times it’s slow, delayed, confusing and chaotic. Either way, patience and some knowledge of the process is key.

People who vote in polling places and local precincts have a different experience than people who vote by mail (or vote early at county offices). In general, the biggest concerns for voting by mail is having the ballot envelope properly filled out and postmarked.

Voting at polling places is another story. Across America’s 6,467 election jurisdictions and 168,000 voting precincts, the experiences can really vary. There can be heckling by partisans on the street outside—or not. There can be lines and delays to check-in—or not. There can be informed poll workers (citizens nominally paid to run the process) at sign-in tables, or inside as precinct judges—or not. There can be voting machines that work—or not. There can be sufficient backup ballots and knowledgeable officials—or not.

Whether you are in a more functional or less functional polling place, the voting process is the same. So let’s go through it, especially for new voters. It starts with knowing when Election Day is. (That sounds obvious, but partisan disruptors have been known to tell people that their party votes on Tuesday—when Election Day is—and other parties vote on Wednesday.) This leads to a related point. You don’t have to stop …read more


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