Nov 1, 2010

10 ways to protect your vote on Election Day
Via TheGrio:

Verify your polling place location

Verify the location of your polling place before venturing out on Election Day, especially if you are a first time voter. To verify your polling place, check your registration card or certificate, call your local election official or go to a polling place locator for your state.

Verify hours for voting in your state

Be sure to verify the hours when the polls will be open in your state. Polling place times vary throughout the country. Any voter standing in line at the time the polls close should be allowed to vote.

Verify your registration status

One of the biggest problems that voters encounter at the polls concerns problems with their registration status. When a voter's name does not appear on the registration list, voters should not immediately abandon the effort to vote. Ask a poll worker to double-check any secondary or master list that may be available at the polling site, or call your local Registrar or other election official so that they can verify your status.

If necessary, take advantage of the right to cast a provisional ballot in federal elections

The Help America Vote Act, passed by Congress in 2002, requires voters identified as ineligible, including those whose names do not appear on the registration list, be given the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot. If all efforts to verify your registration states have been exhausted and you insist that you are eligible to vote, you should be given the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot, at minimum, for the federal contests that appear on the ballot (i.e. Congressional races).

Election officials will generally determine whether or not to count the provisional ballot after the election. Be sure to resolve any problems with your registration so that you will not encounter difficulty voting a regular ballot in future elections.

Provisional ballots provide an important safeguard for voters during elections. Approximately 1.9 million voters nationwide cast provisional ballots in the 2004 election of which 64.5 percent -- were counted.

Verify the rules for identifying yourself at the polls

Only a few states, including Indiana and Georgia, have restrictive, mandatory photo identification requirements for voters. But the vast majority of other states allow voters to identify themselves through various means, including signature matching. If you encounter a problem at the polls, ask for written verification of the identification rules that apply in your state. Find out the various ways in which poll workers can confirm your identity.



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