How to Vote In-Person: Voting Early or on Election Day 2022 Midterm Primary and General Election
Primary election season is underway! And the November Midterm General Election will be here before you know it. Many voted using a vote-by-mail ballot last election, due to the pandemic, but in-person voting remains an important option for upcoming elections in 2022. Many states expanded in-person voting options for this year and beyond.
Whether you vote in-person during your state’s early voting period or on Election Day - Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. It’s important to get informed about your rights and responsibilities well before the big day. Voters in most states have the option of voting by absentee or mail-in ballot too.
What are your options for in-person voting?
No matter where you live, you can vote in-person on Election Day during both the primary and midterm elections.
- Find your state’s primary election schedule
- This year’s midterm general election will be held on November 8, 2022. Learn more about your state’s election rules for voting on that day.
Almost all states also offer in-person voting at a vote center during an early voting period, often several weeks before an election, depending on the state. This option applies for both the primary election – when voters narrow down candidates for the midterm ticket – and the midterm general election.
- The following 36 states (plus DC) permit registered citizens to vote early in-person: AK, AZ, AR, DE, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MA, MN, MT, NE, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, VA, WV, WI, and WY
- In addition to offering vote center voting, eight states mail all registered voters a ballot, which may be returned by mail, to a drop-box, or in-person at an early voting location: CA, CO, HI, NV, OR, UT, VT, WA
- The only states that don’t offer any early voting options are: AL, CT, MS, NH, and SC. Since these states don’t offer no-excuse absentee voting either, please make sure to vote on Election Day!
How can you prepare to vote in-person?
1) First, make sure you register to vote.
If you need to register for the first time, or update an address, do so as soon as possible. Most states require citizens to register about a month before the election. A growing number of states, too, permit citizens to register AND vote on the same day, either on Election Day or during an early voting period.
- States with Same Day Registration on Election Day: DC, ID, ME, MN, NH, WI, and WY. CT allow same day registration for the midterm general election but not in the primary on August 9, 2022.
- States with Same Day Registration during an early voting period through Election Day: CA, CO, HI, IA, MD, MI, NV, NM, UT, and VT
- States with Same Day Registration during early voting only: MT and NC
You must provide proof of residency and/or photo ID when registering on the same day as voting. In some states, a utility bill, government paycheck, or bank statement suffices as proof. Come prepared with the necessary documents! Contact your Board of Elections to register today.
2) Second, check your state’s ID requirement, if any.
Thirty-five states require some form of voter ID when you arrive and check-in at the polling place or shortly thereafter. But the rules vary: some require a photo ID, others just a utility bill or some other non-photo form. You can check your state’s ID requirements in US Vote’s state voting information directory.
If you don’t have the required identification, you may be offered a provisional ballot. Some states’ poll workers will require you to produce ID at the Board of Elections office before your provisional ballot will be counted. Others permit you to sign an affidavit attesting to lack of ID and then vote a regular ballot. See below for types of ID laws:
- Strict photo ID
These states require a voter to produce photo ID at the polls or shortly thereafter at an elections office for the vote to count: AR, GA, IN, KS, MS, TN, and WI
- Non-strict photo ID
These states conduct matches between signatures at registration and sign-in. Or they permit a voter to sign an attestation as to lack of ID or get identified by elections officials if they can’t produce ID at the polls: AL, FL, ID, LA, MI, MT, RI, SC, SD, and TX
- Strict non-photo ID
These states require the voter to produce some documentary identification for the ballot to be counted: AZ, ND, OH, and WY
- Non-strict, non-photo ID
These states permit the voter to cast a ballot without the requested documentation, and will verify eligibility by other means: AK, CO, CT, DE, HI, IA, KY, MO, NH, OK, UT, VA, WA, and WV
3) Third, find your polling place!
Whether you vote during an early voting period or on Election Day, identify your location ahead of time. Consider how long it takes to get there. And be prepared for a line.
Some states – Georgia, for one – now prohibit volunteers from passing out food or water to voters waiting in line. So bring a snack! And maybe a book. A fold-out chair even! Think ahead about what can make your voting experience comfortable and, yes, memorable.
This is especially important for voters with disabilities. Every polling place location must accommodate voters disabilities through some means of assistance and accessible voting.
Note: Often, your early voting site differs from your Election Day polling site. Check with your local election official to find out where to vote, depending on when you go.
Many Americans prefer to vote in-person over convenient absentee voting methods because they like walking into a polling place, marking a ballot, and watching it get scanned or deposited. This can prompt an immediate feeling of civic pride. Do what works for you.
What matters most is that we all get into the habit of voting regularly. Don’t forget to ask for your “I Voted” sticker – and remember, every citizen can, and should be, a voter!