Ten things to know before you vote

The Government Accountability Board released a checklist of 10 things voters should keep in mind when heading to the polls:

    1. Be patient and use common sense.
    2. Know your rights and responsibilities before heading out to the polls, which includes the ability to register to vote on Election Day, available in some states. In many states voters must provide proof of residence, which includes a current utility bill, lease, university ID card (some states require an expiration date on it) or other official document showing the voter’s name and current address.
    3. Check your registration status with your municipal clerk or the state’s website .
    4. Know what to do if you run into a problem at the polls: First, ask for an election official. If you are not satisfied, check with the supervisor. If the problem involves possible election crimes, contact your local police department or district attorney’s office. If you are still not satisfied, contact the election office immediately to file a complaint or leave a comment. If you see voter fraud, voter intimidation, electioneering or misconduct by election officials, they want to hear about it.
    5. Photo ID is sometimes required: Many states have added voter photo ID laws since 2011. Although the courts have thrown out a few of them, check your clerk’s office for in-person before Election Day.
    6. There will be Election observers: Election observers are found at many polling places. They must follow the instructions of the chief election inspector, and may not interact with voters. Rules for election observers are available at many polling place. If an election observer approaches you, report it immediately.
    7. Ballot mistakes are not fatal: If you make a mistake when voting, you may ask for a new paper ballot, up to a total of three. In the case of touch-screen voting equipment, the voter will be able to review ballot choices before affirming the final vote.
    8. Leave political items at home: Voters should not wear political clothing or paraphernalia to the polling place on Election Day. Election officials may ask voters to leave the polling place if they are judged to be electioneering or creating a disturbance.
    9. Get in line before the polls close: Voters standing in line waiting to vote when the polling place closes at 8 p.m. on Election Day should be permitted to vote.
    10. Rules for challenging a voter: There are specific criteria and limitations on challenging a person’s eligibility to vote. An election official can explain the challenge process and provide the voter and the challenger with explanatory documents.
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