There are 3 ways to vote in the 2020 election — here's what to know about each option

Dillon Thompson
·3 min read

You can’t turn on a football game, open your Twitter timeline or finish a podcast without hearing the message: Get out and vote in the 2020 election.

Everywhere you turn, there are probably countless campaigns telling you why your vote is so important, but not many of them say give the how.

The how, which happens after you’ve registered, comes down to casting your ballot.

This year, there are three main ways of voting — so we broke down each one to make things as easy as possible. Here’s how you can vote in the 2020 election.

How to vote by mail

Americans are voting by mail in record numbers this year, with more and more people feeling cautious about visiting the polls in person.

However, if you do plan to vote by mail, make sure you’re checking your state’s guidelines (which you can find here, thanks to Vote.org).

It’s worth checking well in advance what deadlines your state may have, as well as what you’ll need to cast your ballot. Each state makes its own set of rules, so be sure to do your research as early as possible.

Once you have your ballot, make sure to fill it out correctly, following every rule listed on the form. For example, if the instructions tell you to shade in an oval, do exactly that.

From there, you’ll need to sign the envelope (not the voting form itself!) that came with your ballot. Then, put the envelope in your mailbox and send it off to your local election office — which you can find on the USA.gov website.

How to vote by drop-off ballot

If you’re worried you won’t be able to get your ballot in by the deadline, don’t sweat it. Drop-off ballots are an easy alternative — and a socially distanced one at that.

The process is almost exactly the same. You’ll request a mail-in ballot (also known as an absentee ballot) from your election office, then fill it out exactly according to the instructions. Then, sign the envelope and get ready to drop it off.

To find your ballot box, search “local ballot boxes” and follow any link that takes you to a “.gov” website. Your local government will tell you where you can drop off your vote!

How to vote in person

In a normal year, voting in person is by and large the most common method. Everything is different in 2020 though, so whether it’s your first time casting a ballot, make sure you know the rules.

Social distancing guidelines have led to longer lines than normal, so come ready to wait. Also, make sure you have a mask and, of course, your photo ID on-hand. Check your state’s rules to see if there’s anything else you need too.

Lastly, let everyone know! Whether that’s with an Instagram post, a group text to your friends or anything else — don’t be afraid to share the fact that you just voted. Use it to remind everyone else of when (and how!) they can do the same.

Check out our story on TurboVote, the platform that reminds you when and how to vote.

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