Your vote matters. The Presidential election has taken the spotlight, but local and state elections have a big impact on small businesses, too. With Election Day rapidly approaching, we decided to give you the ultimate guide to voting in 2020. 

Every state has different deadlines and requirements for voter registration, early voting, and same-day voting. We’ve laid them all out, and answered some of the most common questions about the 2020 election.

The Ultimate Guide to Voting in 2020

How Do I See What’s on My Ballot This Year?

How Do I Check My Voter Registration Status? 

What You Need to Bring If You’re Registering to Vote In Person

And…What NOT to Bring…

How to Register to Vote in Each State

Absentee Ballot Deadlines for Each State

Early Voting Dates

How Do I See What’s on My Ballot This Year?

While the Presidential race is the main event of the 2020 election, there are many other candidates that will appear on your ballot. To meet the other candidates and learn more about their policies and proposals for small businesses, visit Ballotpedia’s Ballot Lookup

How Do I Check My Voter Registration Status?

See if you’re registered to vote before the big day by visiting Vote.org. If no results turn up, don’t freak out just yet. Take deep breaths, and check with your state’s records or try inputting a different address.

If it turns out you’re not registered in your current state, search for your state below to see when you need to register by.

What to Bring If You’re Registering to Vote In Person

Proof of ID and Residency: The most important things you need to bring are proof of identity and your residency in the state you’re registering in. Every state requires prospective voters to show an ID. This can be any current photo ID, a copy of a recent utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or any government document that has your name and address.  

Some states let you cast what’s known as a provisional ballot if you didn’t bring an ID with you to register, but you must provide an ID before your vote can be officially counted.

A mask and hand sanitizer: Keep yourself and others safe if you’re voting in person this year by wearing a mask and bringing hand sanitizer with you when you visit your polling place.

And…What NOT to Bring…

Your selfie game. No, really. It’s actually illegal to take a photo of your completed ballot in certain states. Check this map to see what’s allowed where you’re voting.

How to Register to Vote in Each State

20 states plus Washington D.C. allow you to register to vote on Election Day, November 3rd. 40 as well as D.C. allow online registration. If you need more information on how to register, or what to bring, reach out to your Local Election Office.

States with Same Day Voter Registration 

If you’re registering to vote in person, please make sure to wear a mask and keep a safe distance 6 feet apart from other voters. 

California 
Where to Register: Your County Elections Office. Your provisional ballot will be counted once your County Elections Official can verify your voter registration.
What to Bring: Your California driver’s license or state ID. 

Colorado 
Where to Register: At a Voter Service and Polling Center. You’ll need to complete and sign a self-affirmation and affidavit. 
What to Bring: Your Colorado state driver’s license or ID card. 

Connecticut
Where to Register: At a designated Election Day Registration office. 
What to Bring: A valid photo ID and a proof of residency. 

Washington D.C. 
Where to Register: Your polling place or early voting site. 
What to Bring: A proof of residency.

Hawaii 
Where to Register: Your polling place. 
What to Bring: Your Hawaii Driver License, state ID, the last four digits of their social security number, which will be confirmed when your vote gets to the clerk’s office

Idaho 
Where to Register: Your polling place. Voters in Idaho also complete an oath mandated by the secretary of state.
What to Bring: A valid photo ID and a proof of residency. 

Illinois 
Where to Register: Your Local Election Office
What to Bring: Two forms of identification, and at least one must show your current address. 

Iowa 
Where to Register: Your polling place or early voting site.
What to Bring: A valid photo ID and proof of residency if your ID does not have your current address on it. You’ll need to complete a written oath when registering. 

Maine
Where to Register: Your municipal registrar. 
What to Bring: A valid photo ID and a proof of residency. 

Maryland 
Where to Register: Your polling place.
What to Bring: Bring your MVA driver’s license, ID card, paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, or other government document that has your name and current address. 

Michigan 
Where to Register: Your polling place. 
What to Bring: A proof of residency in your city or township. If you can’t provide proof of residency, your ballot will be a provisional one until proven otherwise. 

Minnesota
Where to Register: Your polling place or absentee voting site.
What to Bring: A valid form of ID. If your photo ID does not have your current address, bring a proof of residency, too. 

Montana
Where to Register: Your county election office. 
What to Bring: A valid photo ID or a proof of residency. 

Nevada
Where to Register: Your polling place. 
What to Bring A valid Nevada driver’s license or other form of photo ID. If your photo ID doesn’t have your current address, you must also bring a proof of residency. Your ballot will be a provisional ballot when cast on Election Day. 

New Hampshire
Where to Register: Your regular polling place or early voting site
What to Bring: A valid photo ID. If you do not have a valid photo ID, you’ll need to complete an affidavit and confirm you’ve voted via a letter in the mail. 

Utah
Where to Register: An early voting location. 
What to Bring: A valid photo ID and a proof of residency.

Vermont
Where to Register: Your polling place. 
What to Bring: A proof of residency.

Washington 
Where to Register: Your county auditor’s office, a voting center, or other location designated by the county auditor in your county of residence no later than 8:00pm on November 3rd
What to Bring: The requirements for registering on Election Day are the same as the ones for registering online

Wisconsin 
Where to Register: Your polling place. 
What to Bring: A valid photo ID and proof of residency.

Wyoming
Where to Register: Your County Clerk’s office.
What to Bring: Your valid Wyoming driver’s license. If you don’t have a Wyoming license, bring your valid driver’s license and another form of identification. 

States Without Same-Day Registration

Note: If your state is not listed below, the deadline to register has already passed.

Alabama: 
In person: October 19
By mail: Postmarked by October 19
Online: By October 19 at 11:59 PM

Arizona:   
In person: By 5:00 PM on October 23
By mail: By 5:00 PM on October 23 Online: For the 2020 general election, received by 5:00 PM on October 23 (normally 29 days before Election Day)

Massachusetts: 
In person: October 24
By mail: Postmarked by October 24
Online: October 24

Nebraska:
In person: October 23

North Dakota: North Dakota does not have voter registration. Bring a valid proof of ID and residency to the polls in order to vote on Election Day. 

Pennsylvania: 
In person: October 19
By mail: Postmarked by October 19
Online: By October 19 at 11:59 PM

Absentee Ballot Deadlines for Each State

Alabama
Request: Received by October 29 by close of business
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 2
Return in person: November 2 by 5:00 p.m.

Alaska
Request: Received by October 24
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3

Arizona
Request: Received by October 23 by 5:00 p.m.
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Arkansas
Request: Received by October 27
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:30 p.m.
Return in person: November 2 by close of business

California
Request: October 27
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Colorado
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Connecticut
Request: Received by November 2
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 8:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Delaware
Request: Received by October 30
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 8:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Washington D.C.
Request: October 27
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Florida
Request: Received by October 24
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Georgia
Request: Received by October 30
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Hawaii
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Idaho
Request: Received by October 23
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 8:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Illinois
Request: Received by October 29
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3

Indiana
Request: Received by October 22
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 12:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 12:00 p.m.

Iowa
Request: Received by October 24 by 5:00 p.m.
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by close of polls
Return in person: November 3 by close of polls

Kansas
Request: Received by October 27
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3

Kentucky
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3 by 6:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 6:00 p.m.

Louisiana
Request: Received by October 30
Return by mail: Received by November 2 by 4:30 p.m.
Return in person: November 2 by 4:30 p.m.

Maine
Request: Received by October 29
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 8:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Maryland
Request: Received by October 20
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Massachusetts
Request: Received by October 28 by 5:00 p.m.
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by close of polls

Michigan
Request: Received by October 30 by 5:00 p.m.
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 2
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Minnesota
Request: Received by November 2
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 3:00 p.m.

Mississippi
Request: Received by November 2
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 PM

Missouri
Request: Received by October 21
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Montana
Request: Received by November 2
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 8:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Nebraska
Request: Received by October 23
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 8:00 p.m. CT/7:00 p.m. MT
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m. CT/7:00 p.m. MT

Nevada
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

New Hampshire
Request: Received by November 2
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 5:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 5:00 p.m.

New Jersey
Request: By October 23
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by close of polls

New Mexico
Request: Received by October 20
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

New York
Request: Received by October 27
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 9:00 p.m.

North Carolina
Request: Received by October 27
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 5:00 p.m.

North Dakota
Request: Received by November 2
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 2

Ohio
Request: Received by October 31
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 2
Return in person: November 3 by 7:30 p.m.

Oklahoma
Request: Received by October 27 by 5:00 p.m.
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 2 by when businesses close

Oregon
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 8:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Pennsylvania
Request: Received by October 27
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Rhode Island
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 8:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

South Carolina
Request: Received by October 24
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

South Dakota
Request: Received by November 2
Return by mail: Received by November 3
Return in person: November 3

Tennessee
Request: Received by October 27
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by close of polls

Texas
Request: Received by October 23
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Utah
Request: Received by October 23 by 5:00 pm
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 2
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Vermont
Request: Received by November 2
Return by mail: Received by November 2 by close of business
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Virginia
Request: Received by October 23
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Washington
If you’re registered to vote in Washington, you don’t need to request an absentee or mail-in ballot. Visit https://voter.votewa.gov/WhereToVote.aspx to learn more. 
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

West Virginia
Request: Received by October 28
Return by mail: Postmarked by November 3
Return in person: November 2

Wisconsin
Request: Received by October 29
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Wyoming
Request: Received by November 2
Return by mail: Received by November 3 by 7:00 p.m.
Return in person: November 3 by 7:00 p.m.

Early Voting Dates

Most states allow early voting, which means you can cast your ballot before Election Day if you’re registered. Unlike absentee voting, you don’t need an excuse for early voting. To see if you can vote early, find your state’s guidelines via vote.org.

emily polner shopkeep

Emily Polner

As the Content Writer at ShopKeep, Emily brings her passion, knowledge, and expertise to give you helpful tips on how to take your business to the next level. Her work has helped thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs achieve major milestones. You can follow her on LinkedIn.