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2020 Voting Has Begun! Registration Deadlines Begin Oct. 4 (Pro-Rail and Non-Partisan)

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Have You Done the Following? (Can be updated over time)

  • Registered to vote

  • Confirmed voting status

  • Procured required identification

  • Requested mail-in ballot

  • Submitted a completed ballot

  • Voted early in person

  • Voted on election day

  • Ran into problems

  • Refused to vote


Results are only viewable after voting.

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
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⚠ WARNING: DO NOT POST ANY NON-RAIL OR PARTISAN COMMENTARY ⚠

Here on the forum we often complain about Amtrak but we don't always direct that energy into something useful or productive. Some of Amtrak's problems are self-inflicted but many others are due at least in part to government budgets and intervention (or lack thereof). Obviously who we vote for is based on many factors above and beyond Amtrak (and those remain strictly off limits on this forum) but the motivation for this thread is based on the simple understanding that people of all stripes and backgrounds can support passenger rail and the number of eligible non-voters is more than enough to tip the balance in almost any recent election.

So let's Get Out The Pro-Rail Vote!

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Register to Vote Before the Deadline - First Deadline is October 4th


Click the image above for the main story where each state's registration schedule is listed.


Verify Your Voting Status Is Both Current and Valid - Do not miss this step!
This is even more important than before thanks to aggressive invalidation
Link: Voter Registration Status | NASS


Collect and Confirm All Necessary Identification
- Move Quickly!
These rules are constantly changing and becoming more restrictive
Link: Voter Identification Requirements | Voter ID Laws


Confirm Your Available Voting Options
- Stay Informed!
There are several options to consider so get up to speed now.
Link: How To Vote In The 2020 Election


Voting Protections for Workers
- Know Your Rights!
It's not always easy to vote but some states provide worker protections.
Link: State Laws on Voting Rights/Time Off to Vote - Workplace Fairness


Review Your Voting Schedule
- Early Voting Has Already Begun!
Click the image below to be taken to the main article

 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
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For those who have voted what was your experience?

I knew I had a reasonable case for requesting an absentee ballot but the pandemic was specifically disqualified for anyone under 65 so I asked around for the best place to vote in person and was advised to visit a new location. When I arrived easy parking was available but filling up quickly. Everyone was masked properly but voters in line seemed to bunch up and spread out in a random fashion. When you made it inside they had distancing stickers and everyone around me complied without issue. Staff were masked and identification was passed through a plexiglass shield. We received a paper ballot with a printed header and a pencil to sign our names with an eraser to touch the selection screen. I would have preferred ink but the erasure selection worked fine.

After selections were made and confirmed the voting machine printed on the ballot which you then took to a collection machine. This worked well enough but it was odd to realize the collection attendant could read how everyone voted in the course of her duties. When I drove away the closest parking was nearly full and the line was twice as long as when I arrived. The whole thing took about thirty minutes but looked closer to an hour for new arrivals. My state continues to engage in numerous suppression tactics but on the plus side we were granted an extra week of in-person voting this year and it was inspiring to see lots of people showing up despite the hassle and risk.

 
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AmtrakBlue

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Delaware is allowing pandemic absentee voting so I requested one. After receiving mine I waited about a week to open it. I had been waiting for my friend to receive hers because I had offered to drop hers off at one of the two drop off places we have in my county which are only available during “office hours”.
I finally decided to fill mine out and drop it off and take my friend’s ballot later (I’ll be getting it from her today). I checked the website and it is showing as having been received.
 

jis

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In Florida anyone can ask for a mail ballot, without giving any reason. You just tick a box when registering, or you can do so in yourvoters account at the Elections Supervisor's web page. Ever since I moved to Florida I have always used mail ballot, and often I have dropped it off at the Elction Commission Office in Town. It was absolutely no different for me this year. I am registered to receive mail ballots through 2024, so that happened automatically without any additional action. The ballot arrived a couple of days after Oct 1 when it was mailed to me. Dropoff at the secure dropoff box was uneventful. I was the only one there when I went to drop it off.

Close to 17% of the registered voters in this county have already voted as of 10/18. Early voting starts tomorrow Monday 10/19. A little over 40% of registered voters have requested mail in ballots in this county.
 

jiml

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You folks are very fortunate to have such an organized mail-in option. Mail-in voting in Canada is a virtual unknown, previously used mostly by non-residents living in the US or other countries. Our government is foraging ahead with several by-elections (filling vacant house seats) in the next month using the usual methods - all of which involve an in-person appearance at either an advance poll or on election day, all during a pandemic. Google shows "vote by mail Canada" as an increasingly popular search, so there's certainly interest in developing a more widespread system.
 

Palmland

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Carolinas
Our absentee voting was flawless. Filled out on line ballot application and received the ballot with all our personal voting info on it two days later. Completed it same day and dropped it at our county election office to be sure it was received (took about 1 minute even with short conversation). The manager said it would be tabulated (scanned) on Election Day and counted electronically when polls closed at 7pm.

But, it would have been a lot easier to vote in person a couple days later when polls opened for early voting. A friend said there was no wait and were in and out in 5 minutes with votes tabulated at end of the voting process (but not counted until 7 pm on Election Day). Of course, being In a small town (although county seat) helps. Next election that’s what we‘ll do.
 

jis

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What I personally like about voting by mail as opposed to in a polling booth is that I can work on the ballot paper over an extended period of time, first completing the easy parts and then going off to research the harder parts, and once done I can just ship it off without having to transcribe it to the official ballot. Just my personal preference mind you.

Standing in line, if necessary, has never bothered me. I stood in an endlessly long line in 1976 to vote Indira Gandhi out in 1976 in India, after she declared a state of emergency for no good reason. But those ballots are simpler than figuring out endless State Constitution Amendments and Township Charter changes and dig up which judge did what to whom.
 

pennyk

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Early voting starts in Florida tomorrow. Depending on weather and lines, I am hoping to vote in person (wearing an N95 mask with a surgical mask on top of it) tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. My sample ballot has been completed.

Jis, my decision as to which judges to retain was based on which governor appointed them.
 

JayPea

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What I personally like about voting by mail as opposed to in a polling booth is that I can work on the ballot paper over an extended period of time, first completing the easy parts and then going off to research the harder parts, and once done I can just ship it off without having to transcribe it to the official ballot. Just my personal preference mind you.
I like our voting by mail only here for that very reason. I can study those candidates and issues I am not sure on and vote for those at my leisure after I have done my research on them.

Living in a town of 500 and in a town of 2800, there never were any lines to speak of at the polls.😉 For the few years I lived in Spokane, though, I never did encounter too long of lines. Miserable weather I always encountered. I swear it was always cold, wet, windy and snowy on Election Day. And no other time within 2 weeks before or after the election.
 

MARC Rider

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For those who have voted what was your experience?
Maryland here.

We can vote absentee for any reason. I went online in August and asked for a request for a ballot, which they sent after a few weeks. I sent that in, then a couple of weeks ago, got my ballot, which I filled out right away. The state set up drop boxes all over Baltimore City, and one was only a couple of blocks from where I live, so I went over last week and dropped it off. I got an email from the elections office saying that they got it, so I've voted.

Last June, they had a similar process for the primary election. I accidentally mismarked my ballot, so I had to call the city elections office, and to my surprise, got connected to a real person pretty quickly. After she verified my identity over the phone, she said to come downtown and get a new ballot. Which I did. It was weird, back then downtown Baltimore was pretty deserted in the middle of the day. I had to wait outside the building and call up, and a nice lady came down and handed me the new ballot. I took it home, filled it out, and dropped it off in the mail.
 

WWW

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Minnesota early voting (9/18) about 2pm in and out in less than 10 minutes.
Don't have to futz with the mail in version meeting any post mark deadline - witness forms etc. - absentee.
Now what to do about those TV ads - lawn signs and all that voting trash that came in the mail - - -
Just how many times do these political parties think I can vote ? Ah er legally !
 

Devil's Advocate

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Voter registration deadline for Alabama, Pennsylvania and South Dakota is today, October 19!

For those who want to vote but have not yet registered several more deadlines are quickly approaching. If your state allows online registration I would advise acting sooner rather than later as several states have experienced sudden outages to voting websites over the last several years. Some states have extended the deadline to account for the outages while other states have simply shrugged and wished residents better luck next time. Here is the master list of voter registration deadlines. Even if your state has passed the deadline check to see if an extension has been granted by election officials or state court judges.

Alabama: October 19, 2020.

Alaska: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Arizona: Extended to 5:00 p.m. local time on October 23, 2020.

Arkansas: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

California: October 19, 2020 or November 3, 2020 (in person).

Colorado: November 3, 2020.

Connecticut: October 27, 2020 or November 2, 2020 (in person).

Delaware: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

District of Columbia: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Florida: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Georgia: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Hawaii: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Idaho: November 3, 2020 (in person)

Illinois: November 3, 2020 (in person)

Indiana: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Iowa: October 24, 2020 or November 3, 2020 (in person).

Kansas: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Kentucky: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Louisiana: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Maine: November 3, 2020.

Maryland: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Massachusetts: October 24, 2020, 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Michigan: November 3, 2020.

Minnesota: November 3, 2020 (in person).

Mississippi: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Missouri: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Montana: October 26, 2020 or November 3, 2020 (in person).

Nebraska: October 23, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. CDT (in person).

Nevada: October 29, 2020 or November 3, 2020 (in person).

New Hampshire: October 27, 2020. or November 3, 2020 (in person).

New Jersey: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

New Mexico: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

New York: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

North Carolina: October 31, 2020.

North Dakota: Registration not required.

Ohio: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Oklahoma: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Oregon: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Pennsylvania: October 19, 2020.

Rhode Island: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

South Carolina: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

South Dakota: October 19, 2020.

Tennessee: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Texas: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Utah: October 23, 2020 or November 3, 2020 (in person).

Vermont: No deadline for Vermont.

Virginia: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Washington: October 23, 2020.

West Virginia: Voter Registration Deadline Has Passed (See Link Below for Extensions)

Wisconsin: October 30, 2020 or November 3, 2020 (in-person).

Wyoming: November 3, 2020.


Texas managed to avoid this problem by refusing to allow online registrations and shutting everything down a full month before the election. Score another win for cowboy logic.
 
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jebr

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I voted by mail a couple weeks ago. In Minnesota there's no-excuse absentee and early voting available starting September 18, and even if you vote early you can re-vote until 2 weeks before Election Day if you need to change your ballot for any reason. I had requested my mail-in ballot back in August when we moved for both the state primary and general elections. They were mailed out a bit later than usual (early voting started 9/18, but I didn't get my ballot until the end of September.) However, once I got it it was easy enough to fill it out and mail it back, and the elections office received it the next day (verified by the online verification that shows the status of your ballot.)

1603130453136.png

In Minnesota, early votes can be processed and sent through the ballot counter starting on October 20, but the ballot counter cannot tabulate the results until after polls close on Election Day. That's a fairly quick process, though, so the unofficial Election Day results should include most early votes as well as votes cast on Election Day.

Overall, the process was fairly simple, and I'm glad that Minnesota makes it easy to vote while still having protections in the background to ensure a safe, accurate elections process.
 

Dakota 400

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In Ohio, our Secretary of State's Office mailed applications for an absentee ballot to every registered voter. My local newspaper also printed--two Sundays in a row--a ballot application that was located on Page A2 of the paper. I completed the application from the Secretary of State and mailed it to my County's Board of Elections. The ballot arrived on October 6th; I mailed it on October 9th.

Just checked to see if my ballot had arrived and had been processed by my Board of Elections. It arrived on October 17th and was processed. My vote will be counted.

Disappointed that it took a week for the ballot to get from a Dayton suburb to downtown Dayton. However, the suburban Post Office where I dropped the ballot into the mail has been known to be a "problem" one at times.

Moral of my experience: Don't procrastinate in getting your absentee ballot marked and mailed!
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
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This year millions of Americans will be voting by mail-in ballot for the first time. Although helpful and necessary to reduce risk and increase participation mail-in ballots are also susceptible to silent invalidation. The top disqualifying factors are lack of a signature, a signature that does not closely match another (potentially much older) government document, missed deadlines, and a failure to follow instructions. Some states now require a witness or notary and others require multiple successive envelopes. Election rules change over time and if you only vote occasionally you may have missed important changes or court rulings since the last major election.



See the following article for several factors to consider when submitting a main-in ballot to avoid trouble.

 
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jis

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At least in Florida they send you a notification of signature anomaly or missing one and there is an opportunity to fix that if there is enough time. Also, at least in my county they accept ballots that are missing the secrecy sleeve. But of course the ballot does have to be sealed in the envelope that bears the certification signature, and that has to be enclosed in the outer enevlope. I believe that is pretty standard for most mail-in ballot setups.

One interesting hypothetical question I have been pondering is, if there were no mail ballot allowed, how many additional people would simply not vote. If that number is larger than rejected mail in ballots then having mail in ballots is still a winner, provided of course there is no bias in determining rejection, which in some cases could be a dubious assumption..

Personally, I have never had a mail ballot of mine rejected, i.e. all were tabulated and counted, at least on record..
 

Bob Dylan

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The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans( Federal) just OKd Texas rejecting Mail in Ballots without notifying the Voters theres a problem before Election Day,which means the Ballot wont be counted and the Voter will have no opportunity to correct it!

It's being appealed to the Supreme Court,but these Voter rights appeals are regularly being denied by the Majority Members.( Currently 5-3, soon to be 6-3)

Voter Supression takes many forms, this is just one of the many tricks being used.It joins the Texas Governor ruling that each of the 254 Counties in Texas can only have 1 Drop Off Box for Early Votes.

County Populations range from Loving County in West Texas with 169 People, to Harris County and Greater Houston with 6,000,000+ and an area Larger than 7 States!
 
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Railroad Bill

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As Dakota 400 reported, Ohio has made it easy to get your absentee ballot and vote as long as you dont wait until last minute. Many of our local people have voted in person at the BOE OFFICE. We only have 20,000 in the city so not a huge line except on first 2-3 days. Wife & I went down around 3pm. Parked next to office. 3 people ahead of us. 10-12 people voting. 15 machines. No waiting. Show driver license, sign the sheet, clerk checks record and gives you a coded receipt to scan at the machine. A long ballot since we have many issues to renew..schools ,parks, mental health, fire dept ,streets. Took 10 minutes, take the printout, scan the ballot and it goes into the ballot box, got our Voted stickers and out the door. People cleaning machines between each use. Glad we did not use mail in ballots. But have in past years with no iproblem. Stats show lots of local votes already received. Will be interesting to see how many people actually vote on Election Day.
 

Deni

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In Ohio, our Secretary of State's Office mailed applications for an absentee ballot to every registered voter. My local newspaper also printed--two Sundays in a row--a ballot application that was located on Page A2 of the paper. I completed the application from the Secretary of State and mailed it to my County's Board of Elections. The ballot arrived on October 6th; I mailed it on October 9th.

Just checked to see if my ballot had arrived and had been processed by my Board of Elections. It arrived on October 17th and was processed. My vote will be counted.

Disappointed that it took a week for the ballot to get from a Dayton suburb to downtown Dayton. However, the suburban Post Office where I dropped the ballot into the mail has been known to be a "problem" one at times.

Moral of my experience: Don't procrastinate in getting your absentee ballot marked and mailed!
I would think that it is also possible that it didn't take a week for the USPS to get your ballot to the office of elections, but that it got there within a day or two and didn't get processed by the board right away. It could have been sitting in the board of elections office for several days before processing.
 

Barb Stout

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Early voting in NM started last Saturday and both news reports and friends and relatives have reported long lines at the polling sites in Bernalillo County which contains Albuquerque. The County Clerk says there has never been anything like it in terms of numbers of people voting early and there is so much more activity and interest in this election than in the past. The county does make it pretty easy to vote. There are 18 early voting sites in the county and one can vote at any of them. They got rid of assigned precincts maybe a decade ago or more. The County clerk who modified the rules to allow for people to vote at any polling site within their county is now the Secretary of State in NM.

I am in the habit of early in person voting and that is my plan for this year also. I usually wait until later in the early voting schedule to allow me to consume more information on the down-ballot candidates and extras like constitutional amendments. This year I hadn't totally decided on certain issues especially a certain constitutional amendment until yesterday and am currently doing a calculus on when to vote to avoid putting myself in a long line, getting more information on the issues, and the possibility of getting sick and then not being able to go and vote. That almost happened to my sister who several hours after voting started coming down with cold symptoms. I will do a drive by today at the nearby polling site to assess the line situation. We have through Halloween, I think, for early voting.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
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Glad we did not use mail in ballots.
Why is that?

3 people ahead of us. 10-12 people voting. 15 machines. No waiting.
I've read similar reports from rural towns in Texas. Here in a city of two million we have the same number of voting machines per location but with 100+ people waiting in line to use them. Without easy and dependable access to mail-in ballots there is simply no practical method for every eligible Texan to vote.

I would think that it is also possible that it didn't take a week for the USPS to get your ballot to the office of elections, but that it got there within a day or two and didn't get processed by the board right away. It could have been sitting in the board of elections office for several days before processing.
Anything is possible but all indications are that the USPS has been further weakened and compromised in the run up to the election. Here's an article from my own backyard and it's only one of dozens of similar reports across the country.

 
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Dakota 400

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I would think that it is also possible that it didn't take a week for the USPS to get your ballot to the office of elections, but that it got there within a day or two and didn't get processed by the board right away. It could have been sitting in the board of elections office for several days before processing.
Initially, I thought that might be the case. Reading the information from my Board of Elections more carefully, the date that the ballot was received was the same date that the ballot was processed and approved. That was one week after I put the ballot in the mail slot at the Post Office. The Director of our County Board of Elections has been saying that they are processing the ballots on the day their Office receives them. There has been no back-log with which to deal.

The Dayton Daily News, a couple of weeks ago did a test to see how quickly the same size envelope as a ballot envelope with the proper postage applied was received in their office by mailing dozens of such envelopes in a variety of places throughout our region. The envelope mailed from the Post Office where I mailed my ballot took one week to be delivered to the newspaper's office near downtown Dayton.
 
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