There has rarely been an election where turnout and (as Paul Ogden has repeatedly reminded us) accurate counting of the ballots cast by the voters who do turn out, has been more important.
In recognition of that reality, a number of state and national efforts are being made to help people register and cast a vote: websites like Indiana Citizen, JustGoVote and a number of others–some, like that produced by NBC News, that are really impressive– have joined the official sites maintained by government agencies and the more established nonprofit sites like Ballotpedia.
There is no dearth of information and it is accessible to even the least “politically connected” voter.
That said, the recent state by state voting guide prepared by FiveThiryEight.com is one of the most comprehensive compilations I’ve seen. The “landing page” is color-coded, showing at a glance how difficult or easy it is to vote in each state, whether each state allows voting by mail, and if so under what circumstances (are excuses required? If so, what are they? Does fear of the pandemic count?)
For each state, the site’s text explains how to register, how to request and submit an absentee ballot, whether the state allows early voting, and whether the state plans to close polling places or otherwise make in-person voting more difficult. It also has a category called “what we’re watching.”
Here’s the information on Indiana’s page (without, however, the colorful graphics that make it both attractive and easier to read.) There is a similar page for every state.
Register to vote by Oct. 5. You can register online here.
Counties must offer early voting Oct. 6-9, Oct. 13-16, Oct. 19-24, Oct. 26-31 and Nov. 2. Counties may also offer it Oct. 10-12, Oct. 17-18, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1; check with local election officials for locations and the exact schedule in your area.
So far, no plans to close polling places have been announced.
Requesting an absentee ballot
In order to vote absentee, you must have an excuse, such as being age 65 or older, sick or out of town on Election Day. You can apply for an absentee ballot online here. Election officials must receive your application by Oct. 22.
Submitting an absentee ballot
Absentee ballots must be received by noon on Nov. 3.
What we’re watching
Indiana waived the need for an excuse to vote absentee in its June primary, but it may not do so in the general election. A pair of lawsuits are still pending that would allow anyone to vote absentee and extend the deadline by which ballots must be received.
Share the URL and share it widely– then prepare to help friends and neighbors cast their ballots! Make sure they have the documentation required by our ridiculous “Voter ID” law, offer them a ride to the polls, call them the day before and again in the afternoon of November 3d…whatever it takes.
And if you want or need a reason to work harder than you ever did before to get SANE people to the polls, go listen to Nate Silver’s 2020 election forecast.
29 thoughts on “State By State By FiveThirtyEight”
Regarding requesting Absentee Ballots on line; I tried 5 or 6 sites which all provided the application form for the June 2nd Primary Election and the message that was the form being used by the Marion County Election Board. The election date was blank to fill in the General Election date and it stated that form could be returned by E-mail or copied and mailed in. My printer is broken and many people do not have a printer, also I found no access to E-mail the form; a friend managed to E-mail her application but never received it. Being a pack rat, I went back through everything in the envelope containing my request for the Primary and found the E-mail address at the bottom of one of the pages; firstname.lastname@example.org which I used. Within ONE WEEK I received the actual application for the General Election Absentee Ballot; I proved that address to my friend who received no response to her E-mailed application. Within days she received an E-mail from the Election Board with her application and a message saying they found no previous request from her. I am waiting for my Absentee Ballot but we are in the midst of election conventions and added chaos from Trump who is trying to destroy the USPS, admittedly to aid in his reelection.
A few days ago I tried to find the list of polling places for the General Election, all that was available were the sites for the Primary. My daughter and a friend set out in their different areas to vote in the Primary and found their regular polling place closed; they had to drive around to find where to vote because they had not been notified their polling places had changed. Another way to “purge” votes is by preventing them from happening; but my stubborn daughter and friend found their polling place, drove till they found a parking space, walked to the end of the long, socially distanced line, and waited till they were allowed to vote.
It now takes stubbornness and determination to even find access to cast our votes; there will be many who can’t be bothered, making it vital that we stay strong and encourage family and friends to do the same. Trump’s last-ditch effort to assure is reelection by destroying the USPS MIGHT have been stopped by his latest appointee, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who has delayed the drastic changes to that service “…until the election is completed.” But is that retroactive and will the locked mailboxes be unlocked and those removed and the removed sorting machines be returned? DeJoy’s statement means until all votes are counted; unless Trump fires or demands the resignation of DeJoy and sets the destruction back in action. We cannot be assured what was true yesterday is true today or will be tomorrow.
“And if you want or need a reason to work harder than you ever did before to get SANE people to the polls, go listen to Nate Silver’s 2020 election forecast.”
Sheila-Thanks for calling out the Indiana Citizen and our One More Voice campaign. Our social media buy started last week and we are seeing many new registrations. Our candidate profiles and issues summaries will be up soon. In partnership with AARP, we will be making a big absentee voting push. We are urging eligible voters to print off the paper application form and mail it in or hand-deliver it. We are also urging absentee voters to mail their completed ballot back ASAP or hand-deliver it. Let’s hope the widespread revulsion against the decision to block no-excuse absentee voting will lead to overdue election reforms next year. (Hey, trying to hang onto my Born-Again Idealist status here.)
In Colorado, the mail-in ballots and counting go as smoothly as pouring water from a boot. No fraud, and plenty of volunteers. It should be that simple everywhere.
As JoAnn has discovered, the people wanting to vote will be given large and small hoops to jump through to cast a ballot. Those most affected by COVID who aren’t tech-savvy will give up.
If you go to vote in person and your precinct is closed, many will just go home.
The Koch’s have captured Indiana due to our rural folk mentality. They don’t have to spend much money here to “persuade” folk to cast a ballot for the GOP candidate. I’m surprised there are obstacles, but I suspect that in Indianapolis, there may be good reasons the Republicans want to make it difficult to vote since the City will be casting ballots for Democrats.
Can you imagine the fights going on in battleground states?
Even blue states find they are given plenty of hoops to jump through. The Oligarchy does not want the people to vote. A socially aware people will begin voting for their interests versus casting ballots to favor the Oligarchy. Luckily for the Oligarchs, they control both political parties in this country, which is why Republicans were speaking at the Democratic Convention.
If you need any more evidence that the Democratic National Party has slid even more to the right side of center on the so-called “political spectrum,” this should be all you need.
When you own the coin and the referees and the coaches, it’s not a fun game to play. It’s an illusionary game — rigged to give viewers the appearance of winning and losing. If you like professional wrestling, you have to love politics in the USA.
Looking at the results of the 538 polling, one could easily be lulled into a false sense of security that Biden will easily win. DON’T BE! Without an overwhelming, unquestionable voter mandate, we know that Trump will do anything–legal or otherwise–to stay in power. Vote and urge others to vote!
Here is something very simple you can do to encourage others to get registered: I printed up and will be handing out small cards that say:
Your vote has never been more important than it will be in the fall of 2020! You can register to vote online in just a few minutes.
1. Go to indianavoters.in.gov
2. Click “Register to vote”
Here’s a secret: anyone who wants to vote by mail-in absentee ballot in Indiana CAN do so:
download the application. Read the language for reason number 1: “I have a specific, reasonable expectation of being absent from the county on election day during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open”. Now ponder all the places outside your county that you could be on election day. Pick one. Think of all the specific, reasonable things you could be doing there. Think how useful you could be by making a road trip down to Louisville and helping to defeat Mitch McConnell. Now ask yourself, can I check that box and still sign the affirmation on the form?
The only way your application can be denied is if someone on your county absentee board is willing to sign an affidavit that they have knowledge of facts showing that you have made a false statement. There is no reasonable way that your expectations at the time you signed the form can be disproven. It doesn’t matter whether you actually end up traveling on election day, it just matters that you had a reasonable expectation at a particular point in time.
I am not a lawyer. Examine your own conscience and do what is right for you.
NoDak , most every town that has a post office has a voting place,some that dont,keep a old school house thats usually a town hall, open for voting in that day..mail in apps, were recieved back in june..no voter reg,but you can sign up before voting..
every state should accommodate like this,with out question..
Mary S; are you working for Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Bill Barr and Rudy Giuliani? Where is your conscience in recommending this?
We are in the home stretch now so election trends should be becoming more and more apparent. The one obstacle for me is my imagination has failed to explain to me how it’s possible not to vote blue no matter who this year even though Facebook has given me clues most of which end in “ism”. They lead to anger and blame for the past receding as it must and the future pushing its way to the front of the line. It seems that Democrats worry about preparing for the future while Republicans are preparing to battle over the demise of the past.
One thing that I’ve learned late in life to a large degree right here where I do my morning intellectual exercise is that our founders gave us the recipe and some ingredients with the expectation that democracy and we would do the rest. So far “the rest” has taken 250 years but it’s still not done, no cake is yet in sight. However occasionally we glimpse the possibility of one.
Another fantastic resource is votesmart.org which gives factual information on candidates records, statements, etc.
JoAnn – If the fine suggestion of Mary S upsets you (I know both of us are over 65), I would suggest another box –
“I am unable to vote at the polls in person due to observance of a religious discipline…..”
When Glorious Leader suggested at all religious congregations have in person services, the Jewish Reform congregations responded that our religion values life, so thank you very much, we won’t.
I do not believe that many religions condone suicide and I would suggest that voting in person is like playing Russian Roulette. I know that my “religious discipline” prohibits me from chancing death by voting in person.
Problem solved – no need to take a forced vacation or — exaggerate your physical presence or absence.
The important thing is to vote!
Thank you for sharing those sites, Sheila.
Well this is truly going to be an interesting election this year.
It looks like a lot of areas are going to make a tailgate party out of voting, chairs, tables, food, and hopefully some portable bathrooms. I truly think that absentee would be the best route to go, even if you’re dropping it off your self. Trump is already talking about redoing the election if he doesn’t win. An example of this would be the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern postponing the election there. So, sense our POTUS is such a follower, this could be on the horizon for the United States. And this could be a reason why he doesn’t really want people wearing masks or social distancing! He could easily declare a national emergency and enact martial law. And of course if he does that he could actually suspend civilian courts and used military tribunals. Will this be America’s Reichstag fire? Or possibly America’s night of the Long knives? Everybody better stay vigilant, but even being vigilant won’t stop him from declaring a national emergency and federalize the National Guard or use his private army run by Eric Prince. Why not have mercenaries in the street again, he’s already used false flag operations.
And, even if he has not been aware of these false flag operations, his supporters are definitely aware of them because they are part and parcel to them. Including being involved in black lives matter and Antifa rioting and looting.
what’s wrong with Mary’s comment? I think she’s trying to warn everyone not to fabricate reasons, just be honest! That way, you don’t have to worry about someone tossing your ballot in the trash. And I guarantee you, there are plenty of imbeciles out there who will have their ballots thrown in the trash. Honesty is always the best policy, fabrication is always going to land someone in the hot seat.
Already registered to vote, I have been advised on line that my polling place will be open at 6am on Nov. 3rd. I’ll be there then with mask so I don’t need to worry about when it will close.
My driver license and my passport are in order, only either is needed.
I’m looking forward to exercising this important right and obligation of citizenship, especially critical this year.
It’s no secret; as a rational citizen like you, I’m voting BLUE up and down the ballot.
how many states ,inform the mail in ballot people,if they were accepted or, dumped? and how are they informed? seems a overall, vote count would be needed to kept on file…
I really don’t understand why you have an issue with my suggestion.
I believe that everyone should vote.
I believe that many rational people under age 65 are justified in NOT wanting to vote in person for legitimate health reasons; but they have been “told” that fear of COVID infection is not a sufficient “reason” to request an absentee ballot.
I am trying to make it clear that the legitimate “reasons” which Indiana allows for absentee voting are elastic enough for virtually anyone to honestly apply for this “privilege”.
Clearly, if you are a politically active person who is planning to engage in public activity on election day, you should not do this. But then, if you are planning to engage in public activity, you probably don’t have a problem voting in person either.
My conscience is perfectly clear in making this recommendation to anyone who believes that voting by mail is the safer option for them. It is clearly better than planning to vote in person, and finding yourself in quarantine for the days around November 3.
Thank you for providing an alternative reason.
Why do you choose to wait until Nov 3? Early voting starts 4 weeks earlier. Find out where and when your county offers early in-person voting and use it!
Mary S and Len; if you see nothing wrong in lying on your official ballot on which you SWEAR you have entered true information when we are trying to rid this country of the liars currently in office and you have a clear conscience…YOU ARE ONE OF THEM.
John Sorg; please reread Mary S’s 9:48 comments and rethink what you said to me at 12:03 p.m. Then read Mary S’s comments to me at 3:45 p.m. and refer to your well-read Bible if you still agree with her.
I choose to tell the truth on my ballot, on this blog, in all contacts with all other people at all times and my chances of becoming infected or forced into quarantine can happen at Kroger, CVS or when I hand my lawn care man his weekly payment. The possibility of becoming ill is no reason to lie.
JoAnn, What Mary is saying is NOT untruthful. A number of election lawyers have noted the elasticity of the “excuses” listed as justifications for requesting an absentee ballot. If you do not feel comfortable using that elasticity, that’s fine, but for those less literal,her advice is worth considering.
What did I say? “Be honest!” If you choose not to be in your voting region on that particular day, then you can vote absentee! I’m not from Indiana, so I really am not aware of all the nuances of Indiana voter participation. But, it’s not a lie if you’re not going to be there. And to imply an insult by denigrating scripture is an ignorant tack, and, if you don’t want to receive ignorance back, you should refrain from spewing out ignorant diatribe! And that goes for other individuals out there who want to be slick with the shenanigans!
If this routine works for Mary S, then good for her! If she shares her knowledge, and you feel it’s just too over-the-top, then you don’t have to except it because you’re not forced to. I’m sure if you peruse the past several months of comments you’ve made, you will run across several if not more that have been denigrating to someone or something! Mary was not denigrating, she just made a suggestion!
John Sorg; I was not denigrating scripture, I was reminding you of the Commandment not to bear false witness. Evidently I am wrong due to “elasticity” in legal parlance, otherwise known as a “loophole” regarding one’s thought process when citing the option.
Mea culpa; but only on referring to Mary S as “one of them”.
You can only bear false witness if you are doing something false JoAnn. if you wait until the day of voting and something comes up, something urgent, and you can’t vote, you just missed out! there is no harm in asking for an absentee ballot because there is a possibility you will not be home during the time of voting. Either you can’t get out of work or you have to go and visit a sick relative or a doctor’s appointment or transportation issues or whatever the case may be. You don’t have to lie, I’m a firm believer in not lying! Lying is bad juju so to speak, it brings bad energy, and I think there are some who will definitely reap what they sow.
Maybe there’s something that you ordinarily do on that day, something that is difficult to get out of, so you can vote absentee if the election board allows it. But, I think Mary was saying, if your conscience allows you, do what you need to do. Some consider voting a human right, so if you want to exercise your human rights, you can take it as far as you need to go. As long as you remain truthful and honest.
John; I totally agree with your last sentence.
These exchanges have given me a great deal of insight as to why the Republicans are so concerned about voter fraud. They are masters at “elasticity” as justification for all they say and do.
Thank you Sheila for your input.
JoAnn: All-or-nothing, black-and-white thinking is rarely useful.
There is absolute truth, there are provable lies, and in between is a wide spectrum of statements open to interpretation. There is no such thing as absolute truth when one is stating their “reasonable expectation” of what will happen on a future date.
I guess I sorta kinda accept your limited mea culpa.
I will mention one other thing- you are not swearing that you will be away, just that you think you will. If you plan to take a trip to Louisville and wake up and think – “Nah, not today”, you haven’t lied. In a just world, this wouldn’t be an issue.
Joann, by your logic, should all Dreamers be deported because they broke the law? Or is it just lying you object to? LBJ is supposed to have smuggled Jewish refugees into Texas under fake Cuban passports. Lies – was he bad for that? Were the refugees?
The voting process is “fixed”; some people just believe that the “fix” should be broken.
Beyond these minor issues, we all agree on one thing – VOTE THAT !?##!& OUT OF OFFICE!
A lie is a lie
It is not a lie for someone to request an absentee ballot if they have a plan to be out of town election day. The law does not require this travel to be unavoidable, or necessary, or work-related. It can be a purely optional recreational event. The law does not require these travel plans to be documented with reservations or other tangible evidence. It requires only a “specific reasonable expectation”.
Unless you are living inside another person’s head, you have absolutely no right to describe someone’s statement of expectations to be a lie.
Listen to the secretary of state say “It’s up to the voter to decide” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqf0viXJRUQ
starting at 46:58
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