This year’s elections process is proving to be unprecedented, as officials work to ensure every vote counts while keeping people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is no wrong way to vote — you can vote early, on Election Day, or, in many states, by mail.
What’s important is that you review your state’s guidelines and make a plan for how you will cast your vote. Whichever method you choose, be sure to act early. Mail your ballot in as soon as possible, and check to be sure it’s been received and accepted. If you’re voting early in-person, go soon. And if you plan to vote on Election Day, arrive as early as you can. See the state-specific resources at the bottom of this page for your state’s deadlines, information about your polling place, to see how to check the status of your absentee ballot and more.
Protecting our elections
We believe that elections must be free, fair and safe, and that the results must be respected by all parties involved.
At Appalachian Voices, our work is based on the principle that people’s voices can and should shape our government, and that it is the duty of public servants to respond to the needs and desires of the people they serve while upholding the Constitution. In fact, people speaking up and exercising their rights has been fundamental to every victory and step forward during our organization’s more than 20 years advocating for clean air, clean water and healthy communities.
A thriving, healthy democracy is one where everyone can freely participate. This year, voters are facing genuine safety concerns related to the Covid pandemic and, in some cases, threats of voter intimidation.
If you encounter any obstacles to participation at the polls, call or text the following national voter helplines:
- English: 866-OUR-VOTE / 866-687-8683
- Spanish/English: 888-VE-Y-VOTA
- Arabic/English: 844-YALLA-US
- Asian Languages/English: 888-API-VOTE
- or DM @866ourvote on Twitter
North Carolina residents can also call 1-888-OUR-VOTE.
Your vote is important. Every vote is important. And every vote needs to be counted. This is the fundamental premise of democracy, yet we are seeing attempts to discredit mail-in voting. There is no wrong way to vote in this election and no one should feel they have to choose between exercising their constitutional right to vote and the threat of getting a serious illness like coronavirus.
If you are voting by mail, be sure to track your ballot. The U.S. Postal Service estimates it may take 5-7 days for ballots to be delivered around the time of the election. Some states allow voters to drop off absentee ballots, but details vary by state, so check the state-specific links at the bottom of this page. Tallying mail-in ballots may take days or weeks given the anticipated high volume of mail-in ballots, and we strongly believe that every vote must be counted.
Residents across our region and nation, including many of us at Appalachian Voices, are stepping up to make sure that the 2020 general election is run freely, fairly and safely. If you are interested in volunteering, including poll watching, these are some nonpartisan organizations with volunteer opportunities that we recommend:
- Election Protection & Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law
- Common Cause Education Fund
- Poor People’s Campaign
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- Kentucky Democracy Project
- Democracy NC Day of Canvass monitoring and working the voter hotline
- Virginia Civic Engagement Table
Please keep your personal safety a priority when voting or volunteering. Follow the 3Ws: Wear a mask over your nose and mouth; Wait at least 6 feet from others; and Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. You can also take steps such as bringing your own ballpoint pen (black ink is generally best, though some states also accept blue ink), and bringing warm clothes, water and snacks if you anticipate long lines.
Voting is underway in many states:
October 29: Early in-person voting ends in Tennessee
October 31: Early in-person voting ends in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia
November 2: Early in-person voting ends in Kentucky
November 3: Election Day!
Voter information by state
Find out more details, including how to track your mail-in ballot and other important information for your state: