Caribbean American Guide To Voting On Election Day

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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 30, 2020: Thousands of Caribbean-Americans across the country have already voted, thanks to early voting measures in dozens of states. But with Election Day fast approaching, here’s what you should know as a Caribbean immigrant voter if you are planning to vote on Nov. 3, 2020.

CALIFORNIA

Polling places will open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Polling locations may be found online by visiting the Secretary of State’s My Voter Status tool.

What to bring

If you’ve voted in California before, you don’t need to show ID.

If you’re a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn’t include your driver’s license number, California ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your registration, you may be asked to provide ID when you vote. Acceptable forms include: copy of a recent utility bill, the sample ballot booklet you received from your county elections office or another document sent to you by a government agency, a US passport, driver license, official state identification card, or student identification card showing your name and photograph.

Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot.

CONNECTICUT

Every registered voter in the state was sent an absentee ballot in September, but the state does not have early voting like others. 

You are allowed to request and receive an absentee ballot and then not use it if you choose to vote in person on November 3. 

Polling places across the state will be open from 6 am to 8 pm and anyone that gets in line before 8pm will be allowed to vote. 

You must bring some form of ID with a photo, but they will also accept a utility bill, paycheck stub, social security card or any pre-printed form of identification that shows your name and address, or name and signature, or name and photograph.

You can still vote if you don’t have any of those things but you have to sign an affidavit that would make you liable for prosecution if you are not truthful about who you are. 

D.C.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and stay open until 8 p.m.

You can vote at any vote center, not just the one in your neighborhood. You can look up vote centers close to you on this website. Most people are not required to show ID to vote.

If you’ve voted in DC before, you don’t need to provide ID to vote. Some polling locations may require ID for you to enter the facility, however.

If you’re a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn’t provide proof of residence when registering, you will need to show proof of residence to vote. Acceptable forms include: a current and valid government-issued photo ID; or a current utility bill (does not include cell phone bill) issued within 90 days of Election Day, bank statement issued within 90 days of Election Day, government check issued within 90 days of Election Day, paycheck, lease or rental agreement, university housing or tuition bill, or another government document that shows your name and address.

Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a special ballot. You have two days following the election to show ID to the Board of Elections.

You can also drop off your ballot in person at a vote center or ballot drop box by Nov. 3; check this website for drop-box locations. Someone else may submit your ballot for you. You can track the status of your ballot at this website.

FLORIDA

On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m.- 7pm.

If you are in line by 7 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.

Voters registered in Florida can look up where to vote on Florida’s site.

ID to bring

You must have an ID card with your photo and signature. Cards accepted are: a Florida driver’s license, a Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles United States, a passport, a Debit or credit card, a Military identification, a Student identification, a Retirement center identification, a Neighborhood association identification, and a Public assistance identification. 

Election officials will also accept a Veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm.

You cannot bring your mail-in ballot to a polling place.

GEORGIA 

The last day to request your ballot is today, Oct. 30, 2020 and your absentee ballot must be received by the county by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020. You can mail it in or put it in your county’s drop box.

On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are in line by 7 pm, you are allowed to cast your ballot. You have to vote at your designated precinct if you decide to vote in-person on Nov. 3. 

ID to bring

Voters will need to show photo ID to vote. Polling stations will accept any valid state or federal government issued photo ID. Acceptable ID includes: a free ID card issued by your county registrar’s office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services, a Georgia driver’s license, even if expired, valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the US Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state, valid US passport ID, valid US military photo ID, student photo ID card issued by a Georgia public college, university, or technical school, or a valid tribal photo ID. 

If you do not have these IDs, you can fill out a provisional ballot. If you are a first-time voter, you will need to provide a copy of your ID within three days after the election to your County Board of Elections and Registration for your provisional ballot to be counted.

MASSACHUSETTS

Election Day voting on November 3 will run from 7 am to 8 pm. 

ID to bring

You will be asked to show ID if you are voting for the first time in Massachusetts in a federal election, you are an inactive voter, you are casting a provisional or challenged ballot, or “if the poll worker has a reasonable suspicion that leads them to request identification.” 

Poll workers will accept a state driver’s license or state-issued ID card, recent utility bill, rent receipt, signed lease, a copy of a voter registration affidavit, or any other printed identification which contains the voter’s name and address. 

If you’re a first-time voter unable to present ID when you check in, you may vote with a provisional ballot and return with acceptable ID by close of polls. 

If you’re asked for ID for any other reason, and are not able to present ID in such a situation, you must still be permitted to vote. However, your ballot may be challenged. Your ballot will be cast normally, and will only be re-examined in the case of a recount, court order, or audit.

MARYLAND

On Election Day, you can vote at any election day vote center in your county. Polls open at 7 a.m. and still stay open until 8 p.m.

Mail-in ballots must be postmarked on at least Nov. 3 and must be received by Nov. 13. 

ID to bring

If you’re voting in person and you’ve voted in Maryland before, you don’t need to provide ID. 

If you’re a first-time voter who registered by mail and didn’t provide a copy of your Maryland driver’s license, state or federal ID card, MVA ID card, student, employee, or military ID, or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or government document that shows your name and address when you registered, you may need to show one of these documents to vote. 

If you’re a first time voter and unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot. For your ballot to count, you must provide ID to your local board of elections before 10 a.m. on the 2nd Wednesday after Election Day.

NEW YORK

In-person early voting started Oct. 24 and ends on Nov. 1. Head here to find out where and when you can vote near you. 

On Nov. 3, polling stations will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

ID to bring

If you’ve voted in New York before, you don’t need to provide an ID to vote. If you’re a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn’t provide a copy of your ID with your registration, you may need to show ID to vote. 

Acceptable forms of ID include: a current and valid photo ID; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address. If you are unable to provide ID, you can vote an affidavit ballot.

NEW JERSEY

Polls will open at 6 a.m. and stay open until 8 p.m.

Only you, the voter, can bring your ballot to your polling place on Election Day.

If you did not receive your mail-in ballot, contact your county clerk.

ID to bring

If you’ve voted in New Jersey before, you don’t need to provide ID to vote. But, if you’re voting for the first time in your county, or registered to vote by mail and didn’t provide an ID number or copy of ID when you registered, you must show ID to vote. 

Acceptable IDs include a New Jersey driver’s license, with or without a photo, military or other government ID, student ID, employee ID, store membership card, US passport, or bank statement, car registration, government check or document, rent receipt, sample ballot, utility bill, or any other official document. 

If you do not have any of these IDs and still want to vote, you will be able to cast a provisional ballot.

IF YOU SAY SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING

ProPublica wants to hear about any problems that may prevent you from voting — for example, mail ballot delivery problems, voting location changes, long lines, registration problems, purged voter rolls, broken machines and voter intimidation.

News Americas and those at other newsrooms taking part in the Electionland project will do what we can to document and verify what readers tell us about voting and Election Day experiences. One of the most important parts of the Electionland project is to hear directly from voters. There are several ways to do that:

  • SMS: Text the word VOTE, VOTA (for Spanish) or 投票 (for Chinese) to 81380 (standard text message rates apply).
  • WhatsApp: Send the word VOTE, VOTA (for Spanish) or 投票 (for Chinese) to 850-909-8683.
  • Facebook Messenger: Go to m.me/electionland.

NEVADA

You can look up vote centers close to you on this website. Most people are not required to show ID to vote.

Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you’ve voted in Nevada before, you do not have to show ID to vote as long as your name appears in the election board register and your signature matches the signature on the record.

If you’re a first-time voter, you may need to show ID to vote. Acceptable forms include: the card issued to the voter at the time he or she registered to vote; a driver’s license; an identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles; a military identification card; or any other form of identification issued by a governmental agency which contains the voter’s signature and physical description or picture.

Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot.

You can also drop off your ballot in person at a local election office, vote center or ballot drop box by Nov. 3; check this website for drop-box locations. Someone else may submit your ballot for you. You can track the status of your ballot at this website.

NORTH CAROLINA

In-person voting

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

You can look up the location of your polling place on this website. You can also drop off your ballot in person at a ballot drop box at your local election office by Nov. 3 or early-voting site by Oct. 31. A family member may submit your ballot for you. You can track the status of your ballot at this website.

Most people are not required to show ID to vote. If you’ve voted in North Carolina before, you don’t need to show ID to vote.

If you’re a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn’t provide your driver’s license number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your registration form, you will need to show ID to vote. Acceptable forms include: a driver’s license or state ID; US Passport; employee ID; student ID; military ID; or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement or paycheck.

Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will still be able to vote a provisional ballot and can bring one of these documents to the board of elections prior to canvass.

OHIO

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and will remain open until 7:30 p.m.

You can look up the location of your polling place on this website. Remember to bring an acceptable photo or non-photo ID to the polls.

 You will need to show ID to vote in Ohio. Acceptable forms include: an unexpired Ohio driver’s license or state ID card; a military ID; a photo ID issued by the US government or the State of Ohio, that contains your name and current address and that has an expiration date that has not passed; or a current (within the last 12 months) utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document (other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections) that shows your name and current address.

Voters without ID: If you do not have any of the above forms of identification you may provide either your Ohio driver’s license or state identification number (which begins with two letters followed by six numbers) or the last four digits of your Social Security number and cast a provisional ballot. Once the information is reviewed and verified by the board of elections, your ballot will be counted.

If you do not provide one of the above documents or your driver’s license/state identification number or the last four digits of your Social Security number at the precinct, you will still be able to vote using a provisional ballot. However, in order for that ballot to be counted, you must return to the board of elections no later than seven days following Election Day to provide a qualifying form of identification.

You can also drop off your ballot in person at a ballot drop box at your local election office by Nov. 3. A family member may submit your ballot for you. You can track the status of your ballot at this website.

PENNSYLVANIA

Polls on Election Day will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

ID to bring

If you’ve voted at your polling place before, you don’t need to show ID to vote, but if you’re a first-time voter, or if you moved within Pennsylvania and are voting for the first time at a new polling place, you must show ID to vote. 

They will accept a Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, and ID issued by Pennsylvania or the US government, a US passport, US military ID, student ID, employee ID or a confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office. 

It is also acceptable to bring a non-photo ID issued by Pennsylvania or the US government, firearm permit, a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or a government check that includes your name and address. 

If you don’t have ID, you can vote with a provisional ballot.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Polls open at 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

You can look up the location of your polling place on this website. Remember to bring an acceptable photo ID to the polls.

You will be asked to show photo ID to vote in South Carolina. Acceptable forms include: South Carolina driver’s license or South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles ID Card (includes standard license and REAL ID); South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit; South Carolina voter registration card with photo; US military ID (Includes all Department of Defense Photo IDs and Veterans Affairs Benefits Card); or US passport (Includes US Passport ID Card).

Voters without ID: If you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining photo ID, you may vote a provisional ballot after showing your non-photo voter registration card. If you do not have photo ID and do not have a reasonable impediment to obtaining one, or you simply forgot to bring it with you to the polls, you may still vote a provisional ballot. However, for your vote to be counted, you must provide one of the photo IDs to the election commission prior to certification of the election (usually Thursday or Friday after the election).

You can either mail your ballot or drop it off in person at a local election office or ballot drop box; check with local election officials for drop-box locations. Someone else may submit your ballot for you. You can track the status of your ballot at this website.

TEXAS

Polls open at 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

You can look up the location of your polling place on this website. Remember to bring an acceptable photo ID to the polls, although you can also provide an acceptable non-photo ID if you sign an affidavit stating that you have a reasonable impediment to getting a photo ID.

You will be asked to show photo ID to vote in Texas. Acceptable forms include: Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS); Texas election ID certificate; Texas personal ID card; Texas handgun license; US military ID with photo; US citizenship certificate with photograph (doesn’t need to be current); or a US passport. Forms must be current or expired less than four years. For voters aged 70 or older, the acceptable form of photo identification may be expired for any length of time if the identification is otherwise valid.

Voters without ID: If you don’t have ID and cannot obtain one due to a reasonable impediment, you’ll need to sign a sworn statement that there is a reason why you don’t have any of the accepted IDs, and present one of the following: certified birth certificate; valid voter registration certificate; or a current utility bill, government check, bank statement or paycheck, or government document with your name and an address. If you meet these requirements and are eligible to vote, you may vote in the election.

If you don’t have ID and do not have a reasonable impediment to obtaining one or did not bring ID to the polling place, you may cast a provisional ballot. In order to have the provisional ballot counted, you will be required to visit the voter registrar’s office within six (6) calendar days of the date of the election to either present one of the forms of photo ID or submit a temporary affidavit, or, if applicable, qualify for the disability exemption, in the presence of the county voter registrar while attesting to the fact that you do not have any of the required photo IDs.

You can also drop off your ballot in person at one ballot drop site per county on or before Nov. 3; check with local election officials for drop-site locations. You must submit your ballot yourself.

VIRGINIA

Polls open at 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

You can look up the location of your polling place on this website. Remember to bring an acceptable photo or non-photo ID to the polls, although you can also sign an affidavit attesting to your identity.

You will need to show ID to vote in Virginia. Acceptable forms of valid ID include: voter registration confirmation documents; a valid Virginia driver’s license (expired or unexpired), a valid United States passport, or any other identification issued by the state of Virginia, one of its political subdivisions, or the United States; any valid student identification card issued by any institution of higher education located in any state or territory of the United States; any valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business; tribal enrollment or other tribal photo ID; Virginia Voter Photo ID card; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you are required to sign a statement that you are the registered voter you claim to be in order to cast a ballot. A voter who does not show one of the required forms of identification and does not complete or sign the statement shall be offered a provisional ballot. After completing the provisional ballot, you will be given written instructions from the election officials on how to submit a copy of your ID so that your vote can be counted. You will have until noon on the Friday following the election to deliver a copy of the ID to the local electoral board.

You can also drop off your ballot in person at a local election office, polling place or ballot drop box by Nov. 3; check with local election officials for drop-box locations. You can track the status of your ballot at this website.

WASHINGTON

Poll opening hours vary; close at 8 p.m. (most voting done by mail)

You can look up vote centers close to you on this website. Remember to bring an acceptable photo ID to the polls.

If you choose to appear in person to vote in Washington, it can be helpful to bring your driver’s license or state ID. If you do not have either, you can use the last four digits of your social security number to register or update your registration.

You can also drop off your ballot in person at a local election office, polling place or ballot drop box by Nov. 3; check this website for drop-box locations. State law does not address whether someone else can return your ballot for you; check with local election officials. You can track the status of your ballot at this website.