IMPORTANT UPDATE: We understand that you may be hesitant to vote in person right now. If there is an upcoming primary or other election where you live, Science Rising encourages you to vote in person only if you can do so safely and in accordance with the guidance of experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Given that the situation around many elections is changing rapidly, please check here for the latest updates. Whether you vote in person, or by mail, we urge you to exercise your democratic right to vote.
You can vote in several different ways. Knowing your options— and which one works best for you— is crucial, especially given that your options may have changed due to the pandemic.
Here we address some commonly asked questions and provide resources to help you complete this most essential step of democracy.
Making a plan to vote and ensuring that you are registered (if eligible) are required to complete the Science Rising challenge.
How do I vote by mail?
Science Rising encourages voting by mail when possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Voting by mail is safe, simple, and secure and every state offers vote by mail (also known as absentee voting) as an option if you are unable to vote in person, though the requirements and deadlines vary by state. It’s important that you pay special attention to your state’s rules. To vote by mail in most states, you will need to request a ballot before the deadline.
Some states are encouraging people to vote by mail to protect the public and election workers during the pandemic, while others make it more difficult to obtain a mail-in ballot.
Things are evolving rapidly as the country adjusts to the pandemic— including states’ responses to expanding voting options—so stay tuned to this student voting guide map, which provides state-by-state information and resources on the types of voting methods your state offers.
Bonus points: Schedule a reminder on your phone or calendar to request a vote by mail ballot by your state’s deadline!
How do I vote in person?
If you choose not to vote by mail (or live in a state or territory that makes it difficult to do so), there are several ways you can vote in person, including early voting or voting at your polling place on Election Day.
Some states may also offer other opportunities for in-person voting in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Be sure to visit your state’s election office website for more information.
I won’t be in the area where I’m registered to vote on Election Day. Can I still vote?
Yes! You could either vote by mail (see above), or you can choose to cast your ballot early and in-person if you are unable to go to your polling place on Election Day.
The specific rules and deadlines vary widely by state, so it’s essential that you research and know the details that are relevant to you.
Early voting begins anywhere from two to six weeks ahead of Election Day depending on the state. If you will be in the area ahead of Election Day, you can look up if and when your state has early voting. If so, you can go to a polling place during early voting hours and cast your vote in person. If you vote in person, we encourage you to follow the guidance of experts at the CDC on how to keep yourself and others around you safe.
I’m around on Election Day! How do I find my polling place?
Find your polling location here. Remember it may have changed since you last voted!
Some states are reducing the number of polling locations open on Election Day to focus on voting by mail and early voting due to the pandemic, so please double-check your polling location in advance.
If you vote in person, we encourage you to follow the guidance of experts at the CDC on how to keep yourself and others around you safe.
It seems like there are a lot of rules for each state…
Yup. If you want to learn more about voting rights in your state, you can find out how your state stacks up in terms of protecting people’s right to vote.
OK! I’m registered to vote and have a plan to vote! Now what?
Well done. You have completed the prerequisites for participating in the Science Rising Challenge. You can complete the challenge by doing one additional challenge activity of your choosing. Once you’re done, let us know and we’ll send you a cool button recognizing your achievement!