Everything You Need to Know to Vote on Election Day
It’s a question everyone asks themselves at some point: How do I vote on election day? For those of us who haven’t already cast our early ballots, there are a few things to get organized before it’s time to vote. Maybe you’ve recently moved, or your polling place has changed. It might even be your first time voting (congrats!).
While it may seem overwhelming, planning ahead (even by a few hours) can help make your voting experience as painless as possible. Here’s all you need to know to cast your ballot on Tuesday, November 6.
Unfortunately, it’s too late to register to vote in most states, but you might be in luck; check if you live in one of the 15 states (plus DC) that allow for same-day registration.
Find What to Expect on Your Ballot
Not sure what exactly you’re voting for? Drop your address into this handy tool at Headcount.org and you’ll learn which candidates are up for office in your district. You can find more info about those candidates and what they stand for on a bunch of sites; Ballotpedia is one of our faves.
Find Your Polling Place
Unsure of exactly where you need to be on election day? Vote.org has you covered. Simply type in your home address and the system will show you where your polling place is.
If it’s far from your place of work, or you’re worried about missing work altogether, Lyft is offering 50 percent off rides for most voters to get to polling places, and free rides for eligible voters in underserved communities. Uber is also offering $10 off rides to the polls.
But you might not have to worry about missing work at all. Several states have laws that guarantee time off (paid or unpaid, depending) in order for you to exercise your political right to vote.
Find Out What You Need to Bring to the Polls
Voter ID laws vary from state to state. Click here to see what the rules are where you live.
What Are the Poll Hours of Operation?
Each state is different, but as long as you arrive at the polls before closing time, they have to allow you to vote. Don’t be discouraged if the line is long at the end of the day: your vote will be counted as long as you arrived in the line before the scheduled closing time.
Here’s a complete list of polling hours of operation by state, alphabetically.
All times are local.
Alabama: 7 am to 7 pm
Alaska: 7 am to 8 pm
Arizona: 6 am to 7 pm
Arkansas: 7:30 am to 7:30 pm
California: 7 am to 8 pm
Colorado: All eligible voters in Colorado receive their ballots by mail but may drop off completed ballots in person from 7 am to 7 pm.
Connecticut: 6 am to 8 pm
Delaware: 7 am to 8 pm
District of Columbia: 7 am to 8 pm
Florida: 7 am to 7 pm
Georgia: 7 am to 7 pm, except in Atlanta, where polling places close at 8 pm
Hawaii: 7 am to 6 pm
Idaho: 8 am to 8 pm
Illinois: 6 am to 7 pm
Indiana: 6 am to 6 pm
Iowa: 7 am to 9 pm
Kansas: 7 am to 7 pm
Kentucky: 6 am to 6 pm
Louisiana: 6 am to 8 pm
Maine: Polls open between 6 and 8 am in municipalities with a population of at least 500 people. In smaller jurisdictions, polls can open anywhere between 6 and 10 am. Maine’s schedules can be found on their elections FAQ site. All polls close at 8 pm.
Maryland: 7 am to 8 pm
Massachusetts: 7 am to 8 pm
Michigan: 7 am to 8 pm
Minnesota: 7 am to 8 pm. Some smaller towns (with less than 500 registered voters) may choose to open polling places as late as 10 am, but most don’t.
Mississippi: 7 am to 7 pm
Missouri: 6 am to 7 pm
Montana: 7 am to 8 pm. Some smaller polling places may open as late as noon.
Nebraska: 8 am to 8 pm in the Central time zone; 7 am to 7 pm in the Mountain time zone
Nevada: 7 am to 7 pm
New Hampshire: Voting can start between 6 and 11 am and end between 7 and 8 pm, depending on your municipality.
New Jersey: 6 am to 8 pm
New Mexico: 7 am to 7 pm
New York: 6 am to 9 pm
North Carolina: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm
North Dakota: Voting can start between 7 am and noon and end between 7 and 8 pm, depending on your municipality.
Ohio: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm
Oklahoma: 7 am to 7 pm
Oregon: Voters in Oregon vote by mail only. Ballots must be turned in by 8 pm.
Pennsylvania: 7 am to 8 pm
Rhode Island: 7 am to 8 pm
South Carolina: 7 am to 7 pm
South Dakota: 7 am to 7 pm
Tennessee: Varies by municipality.
Texas: 7 am to 7 pm
Utah: 7 am to 8 pm
Vermont: Polls open between 5 and 10 am, depending on municipal rules. All polling places close at 7 pm.
Virginia: 6 am to 7 pm
Washington: A vote by mail state where all ballots must be turned in to either a county election department or a designated ballot drop box. If they are being mailed back, they have to be postmarked no later than election day.
West Virginia: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm
Wisconsin: 7 am to 8 pm
Wyoming: 7 am to 7 pm
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)