Top Ten Ways to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Election '04

With the memory of 2000's contested election fresh in our minds, and brand new warnings that this election may also be challenged, every vote matters. With all the recent media coverage of contested votes and challenges to ballots, every voter needs to know a few tips in order to ensure your vote is counted:

10. Know your polling place. Many polling places have changed since the last election, so check your polling place ahead of time. If you've not sure where you should go to vote, find out at

9. Vote in the morning, when the lines are likely to be shorter. Take a chair, or a good book just in case. Better yet, bring some treats to share with your fellow voters.

8. Bring a photo ID. Many states have new identification requirements this year, so play it safe by bringing your drivers license or other official ID if at all possible.

7. Not on the list? Ask for a provisional ballot and vote. Every voter has the right to a provisional ballot, even if your name is not on the rolls.

6. Review the sample ballot before voting. Ballots can be confusing (think "butterfly ballot") and many states have changed their ballots since the last election. If you have any questions about the ballot, ask a poll worker.

5. Make a mistake on your ballot? Ask for a new one.

4. Check your ballot before finalizing your vote. Are your chads hanging? Did the computer properly record your votes? Triple-check everything.

3. Get there late? As long as you are in line before the polls close, you still have the right to vote.

2. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE if you experience or witness a voting emergency such as intimidation or a challenge to your voting rights. Lawyers will be standing by to provide free, immediate, on-the-spot assistance.

1. SHOW UP! Democracy is not a spectator sport. You have to vote if you want your vote to be counted. See you at the polls!

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