1. Choose Where You Will Vote
Voting by Mail (Absentee)
Each state has the option to receive and send ballots by mail, however the rules for voting differ by state. Some states:
- Automatically mail every registered voter a ballet (including California in 2020);
- Require you to apply for a ballot;
- Only send them to people who meet certain criteria;
- Have provisions for absentee ballots to be dropped off at specific locations instead of being sent through the mail.
Make sure to look up the absentee voting rules for your state.
If you want an absentee ballot, make sure to have it sent to where you will be living during the election. The easiest way to change your address is to re-register through TurboVote.
Although most states accept mail-in votes up until Election Day, it’s recommended that you put your ballot in the mail as soon as possible. To account for possible delays in mail service this year, it is recommended you try sending in your ballot by Oct. 15, 2020 for the 2020 general election.
Voting in Person
Want to vote at the polls? Election Day 2020 is Nov. 3 and many states have provisions that allow you to vote early at specific locations. In California, early voting is available from Oct. 5-Nov. 2. Remember to think about COVID-19 safety if you plan to vote early by wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and washing your hands.
2. Register to Vote/Update Voter Registration
LMU has partnered with TurboVote to make the voting process simple! When you sign up with TurboVote, you’ll be able to access everything you need to register to vote, vote absentee and get reminders about local, state and national elections! TurboVote is available to all LMU students, faculty and staff. Sign up now.
3. Choose How You Will Vote
Whether you vote in California or in another state, LMU wants to help make it easy to cast your ballot and participate in civic engagement. If you plan to vote in person, either on Nov. 3 or early, or if you plan to drop off your absentee ballot, knowing where you need to go is essential.
Voting in California
To find the address of your polling place, visit the California Secretary of State’s Find Your Polling Place website.
Make sure you come prepared to the polls. In most cases, California voters are not required to show identification at a polling place, however, it’s a good idea to bring a photo I.D. with you. If you have questions about what to bring with you, check out these resources for more information:
Voting in Another State
Make sure to look up your polling place before Nov. 3 to make a plan and schedule transportation (if needed) in advance of Election Day. Due to the pandemic, many states have changed voting infrastructure, so we recommend taking the time to see if your local registrar’s office has issued any information about changes to how you normally vote. Because of social distancing requirements, in-person voting may be slower this year, so make sure you allow plenty of time to vote at your polling place.
4. Find What’s on Your Ballot
Want to be an informed voter? Along with candidates for office, each ballot includes local and state measures that directly affect your community. Find out what’s on your specific ballot by using Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup tool.
Here’s how it works:
- Enter your address. Enter your email if you would like to receive Ballotpedia’s election news updates in your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time and they will never share your information.
- Select an upcoming election date, if there is more than one coming up in your area.
- View the list of candidates that will be on your ballot. Ballotpedia includes comprehensive election information for the largest 100 cities by population, as well as all state legislative, statewide, and congressional races across the nation. You can contact your state or local election administrator for an official sample ballot.
- Click on your candidates to read their biographies, view past election results, read their campaign themes and responses to a candidate survey, and more. We also provide race overviews if you want additional background information. Where the office names are linked, you can click to learn more about the race in general.
This sample ballot tool includes: All candidates in every upcoming election occurring within the 100 most-populated cities in the U.S., plus all federal and statewide elections, including ballot measures, nationwide. Additional local ballot measures may also be included. Tribal elections are not included.
Other resources for being informed about your ballot and be civically engaged:
- The California voter guide and sample ballot will come via mail prior to the election.
- The League of Women Voters Vote411 provides nonpartisan tips for navigating the ballot as a first-time voter.
- Engage in discourse with others by discussing the candidates and issues.
- Attend LMU Voting events to learn more about candidates and issues.
5. When Will You Vote?
Options for voting early differ by state, some states offer early voting in addition to mail-in ballots. Early polling places may be everywhere from your county registrar’s office to your local supermarket, depending on the state you are voting in.
Voting on Nov. 3
Each state will allow voting on Nov. 3, but do research ahead of time to make sure you are prepared. Some states have strict voter I.D. laws, check the list here to make sure you’ll have what you need on Election Day in your state. You should also be prepared for long lines, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, so bring a snack in case you have to wait.