“When we all vote, we determine our future”


 In: Articles

Today is Election Day! If you have not already participated in early or absentee voting, today is the day for you to cast your vote in what could be a historic moment for our country.

In the 2014 midterms, only 36 percent of eligible voters turned out at the polls. Today, we can elect candidates who will actually stand up for the issues that are most important to us.

“Do your part. Get out there and vote like you’ve never voted before,” says Congressman John Lewis, who fought for the passage of the original Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Before you cast your vote, learn about some of the resources available to you if you encounter any problems. Here are a few common barriers to voting and what you can do to still cast your vote.

1. You are told that you are not registered to vote, or that you do not have the correct ID required.

  • If you believe that you are eligible to vote but are told at the polling place that you are not registered, be sure to have the poll workers verify that you are at the correct polling place.
  • If you continue to have trouble, contact Election Protection (866-OUR-VOTE) for assistance.
  • Before you go, review what ID, if any, your state requires at your polling place. If you are required to have an ID but did not bring the correct identification, you can still vote by using a provisional ballot. The same also applies in a situation where you believe you are registered to vote but your name is not found on the registered list.
  • When using a provisional ballot, be sure to obtain follow-up information. Contact Election Protection for additional information, since your vote will only be counted after Election Day if your voter eligibility has been verified.

2. You do not know how to use the voting machines or ballots.

  • Poll workers should be trained to provide voters with a demonstration of the voting machine or ballot. Instructions should also be posted.
  • Under Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act, some voters have the right to bring someone with them into the voting booth, as long as it is not the voter’s employer or a representative from their labor union. This law applies to voters who need assistance because of a disability, blindness or vision impairments, or people who have trouble reading or writing.

3. You are told it’s too late to vote, despite being in line before the poll closes.

  • Everyone who is in line before the polls close has the right to vote. It does not matter how long the line is or how long it takes to get everyone in to vote. If anyone attempts to turn you away from voting, contact your local election officials and Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) immediately.

4. You feel that your voting rights are being violated.

  • To report any issues related to voting rights violations, contact Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).
  • For voter protection hotlines in other languages, contact the following:
      • Spanish/English: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682)
      • Asian Languages/English: 1-888-API-VOTE (1-888-274-8683)
      • Arabic/English: 1-844-YallaUS (1-844-925-5287)

“When we all vote, we determine our future,” says First Lady Michelle Obama. Michelle is telling you to do it, so just do it! Go out and make your voice heard. While you’re at it, make sure at least five of your friends vote too.

This post is part of a series by SAGE about voting as it relates to issues that matter to older LGBT people. Read Tips on Planning Ahead for Election Day and Voting While Trans? Take This Checklist With You.