Figuring out how to cast your ballot and learn about candidates can be confusing – even in the best of circumstances. This page answers those questions for you and suggests some reliable resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

Voter Registration

Are voter registration practices and deadlines the same in every state?

No, it’s important to know that every state has a different set of voter registration practices and that deadlines vary between states. Determine in which state you plan on voting this year and follow their voter registration practices.

I want to vote in my campus community but am away from my campus due to COVID-19. Can I still vote in my campus community?

Although we recommend checking with local and state election officials in the state in which you’re voting, a growing number of legal experts assert that students can register and vote in their college town. For more information, see this electoral law article and Voting Rights Memo.

Where should students register to vote, if given a choice between voting from campus and voting from their parents’ or prior address?

Students should consider where they are motivated to vote. For example, think about whether one of these locations is a battleground state or if there is an important local race at one of these locations. Students also might think about which location is most convenient and whether they have the right documentation to prove that they reside there. For more information, please see this voting rights memo.

How to Vote

Are Election Day and vote-by-mail practices and deadlines the same in every state?

No, just like voter registration, each state has its own set of Election Day and vote-by-mail practices and deadlines. Determine in which state you’ll be voting and follow their practices and deadlines.

If I'm voting in person on Election Day, do I need to bring identification and what kind of ID do I need to bring?

Every state has a different set of Election Day practices and ID requirements. Check our state pages for more information regarding your state. You also can check this resource for more information about current voter identification requirements around the country.

Is mail-in voting susceptible to voter fraud?

There is very little evidence that vote-by-mail is susceptible to voter fraud or that it favors one party over another. In fact, military personnel overseas and Americans living abroad have used vote-by-mail with success for years, and some states (such as Utah and Washington) use vote-by-mail nearly exclusively. Still, it’s very important to complete your ballot by mail carefully and submit it according to the regulations and deadlines of your state.

How do election officials determine my identity if I mail-in my ballot?

There are various ways state election officials determine voters’ identity when they mail-in their ballot. Some states require that the envelope containing the ballot has been signed and then states compare that signature with the signature they have on file. A few states require a witness to sign the envelope as well as the voter. Two states (AL and AK) require that voters send a photocopy of identification with the ballot and some require the signatures to be notarized. It’s very important to check whether you need to sign the envelope containing your ballot, get your signature witnessed, or copy an identification and include it with the ballot.

Reliable News Sources

Trying to get informed about the upcoming election but don’t know what news sources are reliable and unbiased? We recommend trying the following news sources.

Information About Candidates

Want to learn more about the candidates running for office this year? Check out these helpful resources.

Political Ideology

Not sure where you fall on the ideological spectrum or wondering which political party aligns more with your beliefs? Try these resources.

Public Opinion Polls

Looking for reliable and current public opinion polls regarding the upcoming election? Check out these resources.

Voting Rights

Looking for resources about the rights of voters this election? These resources might be helpful.