We need you to make a plan to vote

Unless you're living under a rock, you've probably been hearing a lot about making a plan to vote. Due to several factors unique to this election cycle - the pandemic, cutbacks to the USPS, rampant misinformation, and blatant voter suppression - it isn't enough to be a registered voter. You need a detailed plan to get your ballot, cast your vote, and check that it's counted.

"I know many of you plan to vote this year, but amidst the excitement and enthusiasm for this election, you've also heard about obstacles and misinformation and folks making it harder for you to cast your ballot....So each of us needs a plan. A voting plan." - V.P. Candidate Kamala Harris

A voting plan is just what it sounds like: figuring out how and when one will vote ahead of (or on) Election Day. Because of the pandemic, this election will be like no other in American history — some counties and states are consolidate polling sites; others are preparing for a significant uptick in mail-in ballots. Changes like these mean that if you wait until the last minute to request a ballot or figure out where your polling place is, you may be unable to vote. Or you risk your vote not getting counted. 

Research has found that making a plan to vote actually increased the likihood that people will vote! In 2010, researchers from Notre Dame and Harvard University found that people who were asked to make a plan for how they'll vote — like scheduling a time to vote and deciding how they would get to their polling place — were more likely to vote than similar voters who weren't asked to plan ahead.

No matter how you vote, make a plan and vote. IGNITE has created four check-lists to cover all the things you need to consider in your voting plan. Before you dive in, check your registration status here. You may think you are registered, but things happen - like voters in Georgia getting purged from the registration rolls.


VOTING PLAN: If you are voting early in-person

Download a worksheet here.

  • What dates does early voting start and end in your state?
  • What date are you going to the polls?
  • What is the address of your polling place? Find it here.
  • What days and hours is your polling place open?
  • Did you get time off work or class to go? (Lines may be long - set aside a few hours!) 
  • Did you put this very important date on your calendar? 
  • What forms of identification do you need to bring? 
  • How are you getting to your polling location?
  • To stay healthy during COVID, did you remember to pack your mask and hand sanitizer?
  • Are you prepared for long wait times? Bring snacks, water, and something to keep you busy while you wait.
  • Voting is more fun with friends. Who are you bringing to the polls with you? 
  • What's your back-up plan?

VOTING PLAN: If you are voting by absentee ballot

Download a worksheet here.

  • Did you request your absentee ballot? Submit a request here.
  • Did you receive the ballot? If not, do you know who to contact to follow-up on its status? (Depending on what state you live in, this could be the Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, Chief Election Official, Commissioner of Elections and/or an Elections Board/Commission)
  • How will you return the ballot? By mail? At a dropbox? At an election office?
      • If returning by mail, when is the deadline for the postmark?
      • If returning by mail, do you need/have a stamp?
      • If dropping off at a dropbox, what is the deadline? 
      • If dropping off at a dropbox, do you know the dropbox location? How will you get there? 
      • If dropping off at an election office, do you know where it is located? How will you get there? What hours are they open? Find your local office here.  
  • When will you fill out your ballot? Did you put this very important date on your calendar? 
  • Did you follow the instructions that accompanied your ballot? For example, if a signature is required, did you sign it? If it came with a security envelope, did you properly use the envelope? Not following these instructions can disqualify your ballot
  • What day will you return your ballot? 
  • Did you get time off work or class to go?
  • If available in your state, did you confirm that your ballot was received and processed? 
  • What's your back-up plan?

VOTING PLAN: If you are voting by mail in a vote-by-mail state*

*These are states that send all registered voters a ballot automatically 

Download a worksheet here.

  • Did you receive your ballot? If not, do you know who to contact to follow-up on its status? (Depending on what state you live in, this could be the Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, Chief Election Official, Commissioner of Elections and/or an Elections Board/Commission)
  • How will you return the ballot? By mail? At a dropbox? 
    • If returning by mail, when is the deadline for the postmark?
    • If returning by mail, do you need/have a stamp?
    • If dropping off at a dropbox, what is the deadline? 
    • If dropping off at a dropbox, do you know where the drop box is located? How will you get there? 
  • When will you fill out your ballot? Did you put this very important date on your calendar? 
  • Did you follow the instructions that accompanied your ballot? For example, if a signature is required, did you sign it? If it came with a security envelope, did you properly use the envelope? Not following these instructions can disqualify your ballot
  • What day will you return your ballot? Did you get time off work or school to return it?
  • If available in your state, did you confirm that your ballot was received and processed? 
  • What's your back-up plan?

VOTING PLAN: If you are voting in person on Election Day, November 3, 2020

Download a worksheet here.

  • What is the address of your polling place? Find it here.
  • What hours is your polling place open?
  • What forms of identification do you need to bring? 
  • Did you get time off work or class to go? (Lines will be long - set aside a few hours!) 
  • How are you getting to your polling location?
  • To stay healthy during COVID, did you remember to pack your mask and hand sanitizer?
  • Are you prepared for long wait times? Bring snacks, water, and something to keep you busy while you wait.
  • Voting is more fun with friends. Who are you bringing to the polls with you? 
  • What's your back-up plan?

You have a plan and are ready to #IGNITEtheVote! Congrats!