What to Do If You Were Not Accepted for the Survey

The 2020 vote created unprecedented challenges – and so far we’ve only passed the primaries. It’s bad enough that the presidential elections are just weeks away and the global pandemic is still in full swing, making personal voting a dangerous prospect. With the president doing all he can to question the safety of mail-order voting and pointing out a myriad of suppression tactics, it is more important than ever to take proactive steps to make sure your vote matters.

Although it is expected that most of the voting in the November elections will take place by mail , it is still possible to vote in person . And with several states introducing stricter voter ID laws after the 2016 presidential election, even if you are registered to vote (a fact you should really double-check ), you could end up rejected in the November 3rd election. for a variety of reasons.

If this does happen, all is not lost, because you still have the opportunity to ask for help – and the lack of an accepted form of identification is not a reason not to go to the polls. Here’s what you need to know before voting.

Know the Requirements for Your Voter ID

Requirements vary by state, so be sure to check yours before you vote. There are currently 35 states requesting or requiring voter ID to vote in upcoming elections, so chances are good that your state is one of them. But also keep in mind that some survey staff are not properly trained and may require more IDs than are required by law. In this case, you may need to call the Election Defense Hotline (more on this below) or sign an affidavit.

It also helps to know which states have stricter rules on voter identification than others, as some of them make it difficult to vote without identification. Take a look at this chart to find out which category your condition falls into. It also provides information on which states require photo ID or just some other form of identification without your photo.

Know other possible reasons why you might be denied

Lack of required identification is one reason someone might be refused to vote, but the list doesn’t end there. They can also include , according to FindLaw:

  • Your name has been removed from the voter list in your area.
  • Voter records show that you requested an absentee ballot, but do not omit an absentee ballot.
  • Your voter registration card is inaccurate or outdated.
  • Your name is misspelled on the voter list.
  • In the primaries, your party may have been incorrectly indicated.
  • Your right to vote has been challenged. (For more information on who can contest a voter’s right to vote, see the website of the National Association of State Secretaries .)

And thanks to COVID-19, many states have updated their voting policies, including registration dates. This is something that varies from state to state, including whether or not you can register to vote in person on Election Day. Check out our 2020 voting guide to learn about the rules in your state.

Submit a preliminary vote

If you do not have an accepted form of voter ID, or if you believe you are registered to vote but polling station officials cannot find you on registered voter lists, you can submit a provisional ballot or sign an affidavit confirming your identity. This is your right under section 302 of the Help America Vote Act .

“People don’t know there are exceptions if they don’t have ID,” Sara Jekel, general counsel at Vote.org, told Lifehacker. “They must insist on a preliminary vote.”

In some states, this applies to people who simply forget their ID at home on election day. “If you don’t show up at the polls with your ID, you can request a preliminary vote and come back with your ID later,” says Jekel. If it is the same day, you can return to your polling station; if it is later, you will need to bring the ID of the local constituency representative, which you can find on Google by dialing the area code along with the “constituency officer”. This will often be your district employee.

You can also vote temporarily if you show up on Election Day and find that your name has been removed from the voting list or that you are not properly registered (which is especially important in states such as Ohio ).

In all cases, if you need to vote with a temporary ballot, be sure to ask for a receipt if you are not given one. This will make it much easier to contact your local election official to ensure that your vote has been counted and ask him to explain why you did not allow you to vote.

Call the election hotline

If the polling station officials still do not allow you to vote, or you feel that something is wrong, you can call the hot line of defense elections – on a nationwide number or on the number of your state .

You can also call your local electoral commissioner or secretary of state , although it is more likely that you will receive a timely response from the Election Defense Hotline on Election Day. “I would call the election defense hotline first, because you have a better chance of finding someone to protect you,” says Jekel.

Help others (without getting involved in politics)

If you see another person being denied a vote, Jackel says that you can usually let him know that he can vote temporarily. Although you are not allowed to defend a candidate within 100 feet of a polling station, “unless it is politically motivated and you are just trying to help someone, I don’t understand why there is a problem,” she said. Just “be careful and thoughtful.”

If you believe discriminatory practices are taking place in your polling station, immediately call the aforementioned Election Defense Hotline along with the Office of the Secretary of State and your local electoral official. In general, just make sure you “know the rules and your rights,” says Jekel. Whatever you do, do not leave your polling station until you vote.

This post was originally published in October 2018 by Alicia Adamczyk and was updated in September 2020 by Elizabeth Yuko to reflect changes in voting policy and information on the current political situation.


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