With the general election less than a month away, it’s crucial to make a plan to vote – and vote safely.

COVID-19 has changed how we will vote this year as many people will vote by mail in several states. For those who choose to vote in-person, wear a mask, and follow procedures to reduce the risk of getting or spreading the coronavirus.

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The election is November 3, 2020, but some states have early voting periods that begin this week.

Here is a guide on how, where, and when you can vote:

Registration

All 50 states require people to be registered to vote, but every state has a different deadline on when you can register.

  • Check your registration status here.
  • If you’re not registered, check the voter registration deadline for your state here.

How To Vote?

After you are registered, choose how you will vote:

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  • In-person, either during an early voting period or on Election Day
  • Absentee/mail-in ballot
    • Due to COVID-19, some states have expanded absentee/mail-in voting eligibility to all voters in their state.
    • Some states have automatically sent absentee/mail-in ballots to their residents such as California, Connecticut, Delaware, Colorado, and Washington.
    • If you still need a ballot, request a ballot in your state.
    • Check your state’s eligibility requirements, request deadlines, and request requirements for voting by mail here.

When To Vote?

If you are voting in-person before November 3:

  • Check in-person early voting periods for your state here.
  • Most states have in-person early voting. States without in-person early voting include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Oregon.
  • You may be able to drop off your absentee ballot in-person before Election Day, even in the aforementioned states without in-person early voting.
  • Contact your local election office to learn more about early voting.

If you are voting in-person on November 3:

If you are voting with an absentee/mail-in ballot, check your state’s deadlines for voting by mail which includes:

  • In-person return deadline (the last day to return a completed absentee/mail-in ballot in person, if applicable in your state)
  • Mail return deadline (the last day to return a completed absentee/mail-in ballot by mail)
  • Mail postmark or receipt deadline (whether the mail return deadline is a postmark or receipt deadline)

Why Should I Vote?

Elections can be decided by just a handful of votes so make sure your voice is heard this year.

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A YouGov poll of more than 6,500 Americans published on Oct. 1, 2020, found that about seven in 10 (69%) people say that the upcoming 2020 presidential election is the most important one in their lifetime so far.

The stakes of this election, up and down the ballot, are too consequential to ignore.

As the country continues to suffer from COVID-19, the next generation of elected officials must have a plan to address the worsening public health crisis, both to prevent more deaths and help the economy recover.

In addition to COVID-19, the country is facing a crisis of racial injustice. Peaceful protests have erupted across the nation demanding systemic change. Elected officials have the power to enact important changes ranging from police reform to bills addressing environmental racism.

Our climate is also on the ballot. In recent months alone, the U.S. has been devastated by massive wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and heatwaves. Extreme weather disasters like these will become more frequent and intense without immediate climate action, scientists warn.

Yet despite the evidence that human-driven climate change is one of the biggest crises of our time, President Trump continues to gut critical protections for the environment. In fact, Trump and his administration have weakened over 100 environmental laws and rules since taking office. Trump has been the worst president for the environment in history according to a coalition of environmental groups.

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From president to school boards, how you vote this November will have a direct impact on your health, your family, your community, and the planet. Learn about the candidates running in your area, their past records and current policy platforms, and hold them accountable.

Read more election coverage:

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