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  6. Ensuring and Securing Your Vote

Archived Content

In an effort to keep DHS.gov current, the archive contains outdated information that may not reflect current policy or programs.

Ensuring and Securing Your Vote

Release Date: October 24, 2018

Ensure you vote with confidence, see our best practices and learn where to get your trusted information.  You can also learn more about how DHS is securing our election infrastructure.


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Is your voter registration up-to-date? Do you know where your polling place is located? The November 6th midterm elections are just around the corner. To ensure you can vote and vote with confidence, here are a few best practices.  Most importantly, for reliable information on voting, go to trusted sources - contact your state or local election office.  To find your state or local election office, visit:

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Before Voting

  • Verify Your Registration: Ensure you are registered to vote with your current address and personal information. To do this, check your state or local election office's website or call them well in advance of Election Day.
  • Know Where to Vote: To verify where you vote or obtain forms to vote by mail, check your state or local election office's website or call them. Do the same thing if you are notified your voting location has changed.
  • Have the Right Identification: Each state has rules about identification to vote in person or by mail.  To check what identification you may need, check your state or local election office's website or call them.
  • Know Your Ballot: Many state and local election officers provide a sample ballot and/or ballot pamphlet before Election Day.  Familiarize yourself with it before voting. To see if your state has sample ballots and/or ballot pamphlets, check your state or local election office's website or call them.

While Voting

  • If Necessary, Request a Provisional Ballot at the Polling Place: A provisional ballot is used when a voter's registration status or eligibility is unclear. If you choose to vote in person on election day and are not on the registration list, and you believe you are eligible and registered to vote, you can request a provisional ballot. It will be counted if eligibility is confirmed after the election.
  • Ask for Help: If you need help or have questions while voting, ask a poll worker. If you need assistance in voting due to disability or illiteracy, you also have the right to bring someone with you to help you to cast your vote (subject to certain rules).
  • Confirm your selections: After completing your ballot, but before casting it, confirm your vote selections are correct.

After Voting

  • Check the Results: Remember that Election Day results are unofficial and it may take a few days or weeks for official results to become available. For the most accurate results, check your state or local election office's website or call them.
  • Check Your Provisional and/or Mail Ballot: After elections, voters may have the option to check whether provisional ballots or mail ballots were counted. Some states also allow voters who cast a provisional ballot to provide missing information to ensure their ballot is counted. To do this, check your state or local election office's website or call them.

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Last Updated: 11/03/2023
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