It may not be a year of presidential or congressional elections, but there are still many races on the ballot on Tuesday.
This election will determine the governors of Virginia and New Jersey; mayors and other leaders of New York, Atlanta, Minneapolis and other cities; and countless members of school boards and city councils. They will also decide the fate of voting measures on election rules, local taxes and other issues.
Here’s a guide to where and how you can vote.
Are there elections where I live?
If you live in Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, or Washington state, you will have a statewide election on Tuesday. Depending on your location, your newsletter may also include local races or referendums. You can find more information by clicking on your status above or using Vote411.
If you live in any other state, Vote411 can tell you if elections are being held in your municipality or county. You can also check your state’s election website or contact your local election office.
How do I know what I’m voting for?
You can find a sample ballot on the Internet that shows all the candidates and questions that will be included on your real ballot so that you can study and make your choices in advance. Depending on where you live, your state’s election website may offer sample ballots, or you may need to go to your county’s website. You can also enter your address on Vote411 to see the full list of races.
Where do I vote?
If you would like to vote in person, every state has an online portal where you can find your place and time to vote (and see if you have early voting options). You should find a link to the portal on your state’s election website.
Here you can also confirm that you are registered to vote, and if not, find out if you still have time to register and how to do it. If you have any problems or need more information, you can contact your local election commission.
Some states require voters to show identification. Here you can find out if your state has an ID requirement, and if so, which forms of ID are suitable.
What if I get turned down?
If survey staff can’t find your registration, or if your state requires identification and you don’t have one, survey staff in most states are required to offer you a temporary bulletin. (The exceptions are Idaho, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.) If they don’t offer one, ask for one.
After the election, officials will verify your identity and eligibility before counting your preliminary ballot. In many cases, the problem is a simple clerical error that they can identify and fix on their own. But in other cases, you may need to take further action to ensure that your vote is counted, such as going to the election office and showing your ID within a certain number of days. Before leaving your polling station, be sure to ask what you need to do.
Can I vote by mail?
In many states, yes, but with a few days left until the election, it may not be possible to request a ballot by mail, receive it, and return it in time for counting. Therefore, you should check your state’s deadlines (available on its polling website or Vote411) and confirm that the deadlines are realistic given the potential for delays with the US Postal Service.
Depending on your state, you can also vote in person before Election Day, or pick up and return the ballot by mail at the polling office. You can use the same websites as above to see if they are right for you.
How do I report suppression of voters?
There are official channels for reporting voter suppression. You can contact your state or territory electoral office or file a report with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
The Department of Justice also has a voting rights hotline at 1-800-253-3931. The American Civil Liberties Union has a non-partisan hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Voter bullying is a federal crime. Examples include aggressively polling voters about their citizenship, criminal record, or other qualifications to vote; spreading false information about the demands of voters; physical intimidation; and harassment of any kind.
When will we know the results?
Votes cast in person on Election Day must be counted that night, but the timing for counting ballots sent by mail will differ from state to state. In some states, officials are allowed to start processing mailing ballots before election day, and they can report nearly complete totals on election night. But more time will be needed for statements requiring officials to wait until November 2.
How long it takes to announce the winner depends on the intensity of the race. If it’s an outlier, we can probably tell on election night. If the race is close, be prepared to wait.
And remember, like last year, since Democrats are disproportionately more likely to vote by mail and Republicans are disproportionately more likely to vote in person, early results can be misleading.