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You have the right to vote. Know what they are before you go to the polls

    Vote stickers for the election

Yes, you have the right to vote.

James Martin / CNET

This story is part of Val 2020, CNET̵

7;s coverage of the introduction of the vote in November.

As a US citizen, yours voting rights begins on the day you turn 18. However, you must activate that right register to vote before election day. And even though there are several laws that protect your voting rights, there are people who may try to mislead you with false information that may even charitable threat – a federal crime.

For example, you may hear it incorrectly vote by mail leads to election fraud, but there has been no evidence of a concerted effort to combat fraud, with fewer than 150 criminal convictions for the crime in the last 20 years. As a US citizen, you also have the right to protect your health during pandemic past cast your vote by email. Here’s everything you need to know.

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You can choose to vote by mail or in person

You have the right to vote by mail or in person. Others may try to dissuade you from voting by mail because of false rumors of postal fraud. However, the FBI has said that it would be “extremely difficult“to change election results by fraud by mail and have not seen any evidence of a concerted effort to do so.

If you’ve worried about your email voting, here it is how to track itand ways to make sure your vote counts.

You have the right to vote privately and not be intimidated

There is a reason why booths are placed over constituencies – to protect your right to choose who you vote for. Do not let anyone convince you that they need to see you fill in your poll – even if it’s a poll worker. If someone intervenes while you are voting, it is considered threatening to voters and your right to vote privately is protected by federal laws threatening voters.

If this happens, notify a voter and then report it to the Whale Protection Hotline (1-866-OUR VOTE) or U.S. Department of Justice Hotline (1-800-253-3931). You should also contact your state election board. If anyone is trying to cause bodily harm, call the police.


You have the same rights no matter who you vote for.

James Martin / CNET

You have the right to vote in your mother tongue

Voters who do not want to vote in English (eg English may be a second language) can get help with the election by bringing a friend or relative. According to the Voting Rights Act, some counties must provide bilingual assistance to voters in the language they speak. You can contact your county and request a vote and information material in your primary language.

Other rights you have

  • If the votes are closed while you are standing in line, you still have the right to vote.
  • You can request a new vote if you make a mistake.
  • You can choose to use a machine or a paper poll and switch to paper if a machine breaks.
  • You can vote early if your state allows it.
  • If you are not sure that you are eligible, you are entitled to a preliminary vote which is counted if it is determined that you are eligible.
  • Older adults and people with disabilities have the right to available polling stations and someone who can help them.
  • People with mental disabilities can not be rejected or prevented from voting.

If you have a problem or want to double check your rights on election day, you can call toll-free numbers below, including in several languages.

Some people with crimes can vote

Depending on the country you live in and your beliefs, you may be able to restore your right to vote if it is suspended. In some states, people convicted of crimes lose their voting rights indefinitely due to the crime, or they need a governor’s pardon to vote again, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In other states, such as Maine, people convicted of crimes never lose their right to vote, even if they are imprisoned.

According to the organization Campaign Legal, most states restore the right to vote for people after they have completed their sentences. You can check your status to see if your voting rights have been restored in the state you live in.

Vote stickers for the election

Vote only once.

James Martin / CNET

You have the right to vote one time

No matter what you may incorrectly hear from others, you can not vote more than once in the same election. Double voting is a federal crime that can be punished with a fine and / or imprisonment. In addition to federal law, each state also has its own set of laws against double voting.

Your rights are protected by two laws

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a federal law that protects voters from racial discrimination. It implements the 15th Amendment, which states “The right of American citizens to vote shall not be denied or curtailed by the United States or by any State on the grounds of race, color or previous slavery.”

National Voter Registration Act of 1993

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as the Motor Voter Act) was passed to improve voting opportunities for Americans by making it easier to vote and maintain registration.

NVRA also requires that states offer opportunities for voter registration at all offices that provide public support and state-funded programs for people with disabilities.

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Who to call if you have problems with the election

If you come across any questions or concerns while voting, you can call one of these hotline numbers.

Roll protection Hotline:

  • English: 1-866-SPRING-VOICE / 1-866-687-8683
  • Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 1-888-839-8682
  • Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US / 1-844-925-5287
  • For Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683

For more information on voting, here is when early voting begins in each state, how to find your polling station and everything you need to vote in person.

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