Understanding Your Rights as an American Voter

(NationalUSNews.com) — The 2024 American election cycle is already in full swing, although November 7th is nearly a year away. It seems like campaign season starts earlier with every election. It is easy to get distracted by the slogans and scandals. It can also be confusing to navigate individual voting rights and procedures, especially if this is your first time taking part or if you have recently moved. The controversial 103-year-old nonprofit organization, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released some advice for potential voters to make sure they are able to participate.

The first step is, of course, to check your status. You can go to the National Association of Secretaries of State’s website to discover if you are already registered and, if so, where. If you are not, you can go to vote.gov to register. Once that has been achieved, the ACLU recommends discovering where your designated in-person voting locations are. While many states use mail-in ballots, all of them are required to provide the option to do so in person. It is also helpful to make an election day plan, including where you go, how much time you will set aside for it, and what kind of documents or identification you may need to bring with you.

Different states have different voting practices and laws. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with your state’s regulations. Some states allow early voting, while others do not. Other states may allow absentee ballots, but that may not be the case in your own state. However, there are some basic voting rights that apply everywhere. If you make a mistake on your ballot, you may ask for a new one, and if the voting machines are not online, you may ask for a paper ballot.

If your polling place closes while you are lined up to vote, you should stay in line, as you have a right to vote. The ACLU’s guidelines include a list of phone numbers in various languages to use if you have any questions or run into any difficulties on election day.

If you have a disability that you believe may make it difficult to vote, rest assured, as it is federal law that voting places be fully accessible to older adults and voters with disabilities. A lot of accommodations can be provided to assist people who may need additional help.

Federal elections require that voting places have at least one area where people with disabilities may vote independently and privately. Voters who have difficulty reading or writing English have the right to have a person of their choice with them to help, although there are some restrictions. Start the voting process now by making your election day plan.

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