While millions have already hit the polls or mailed in their absentee ballots to vote for President Donald Trump or former VP Joe Biden, Election Day itself is still considered the most important event of the race.
Since July, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America has been working on get-out-the-vote efforts via the Shoevoter.info hub. The nonpartisan online hub, which is maintained by a third party, offers users a range of information — including state’s registration rules and deadlines, absentee ballot guidelines, voting locations and requirements, plus a list of candidates in their district.
“Elections are the only true way Americans act singularly. We all worship differently, believe different things, work in different industries, live in different places. But a vote is the single act we all do together,” said FDRA SVP Andy Polk.
Here Polk, who has worked for more than 20 campaigns, as well as in the halls of Congress, offers up some smart election day tips as Nov. 3 nears.
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Make sure your absentee ballot counts:
“Drive it to your local board of elections office and drop it off before 5p.m. on election day. That’s the 100% risk free way to ensure your last minute absentee ballot is accepted. The law is if your ballot is postmarked on election day it counts, but with all the concerns about mail delivery it’s best to drive it over to the main board of elections office. “
Election Day Voting Advice:
Know your location: “COVID has caused a poll worker shortage and your normal location may have changed has a result. Use ShoeVoter.com to make sure you go to the right place!”
Understand the ID requirements: “Each state has different laws around the ID you present to vote (some have none, some require gov ID).”
Look up the times: “Typically polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.”
Know the line rules: “If you are in line before the poll closes, you can vote. They cannot legally turn you away – the rules are if you are in line before they close, you can wait to vote even if it’s a 3 hours wait.”
Don’t leave if you’re hungry: “There is a great non-profit who will deliver free pizza to voters standing in long lines.” (In some cities, including New York, local restaurants are also offering free slices.)
Don’t Let These Rules Trip You Up:
Polk advised not to wear anything to the polls that supports a candidate. “Twenty one states have laws on what you cannot wear inside the polling location to ensure you don’t violate the law, which means you may have to go home to change and then go to the back of the line,” he noted.
Sometimes, provisional ballots come into play. “If you show up and they cannot find you on the voter rolls, you will be offered a provisional ballot to vote. If that happens, take it and vote, but know you will need to follow up, within a few days of the election, with your local board of elections to ensure your vote actually counts. Provisional ballots must be verified by you – if you don’t, the vote will not count. Ask the poll worker what you need to follow up with before you leave the polling location. If they don’t know, ask them to contact the main office.”