Democracy Explained

Democracy is complicated, but we’ve got you covered. Use the drop-down menu to sort our Explainers by topic.

How To Correct a Mistake on Your Ballot

While signature matching laws and other forms of discarding eligible ballots need to be reformed, many states provide a way for voters to correct their ballot and still have it count. This is called the cure process.

What’s a Naked Ballot?

“Naked ballots” have garnered quite a bit of attention because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently declared that ballots returned without a secrecy envelope are invalid, and therefore counties will reject them.

Handed a Provisional Ballot? Know What It Means

You arrive at the polls and line up to vote, but when you check in the election official hands you something called a “provisional ballot”—or in some states, a “challenge ballot” or “affidavit ballot.” What’s the deal?

What Does Voter Suppression Look Like?

Voter suppression efforts are aimed at making it too difficult, too confusing, or too risky to vote. That is why it’s important to arm yourself with information about voting and make a plan on how you will vote early.

Third-Party Ballot Collection Explained

Ballot collection is a safe practice that does not require voters to have their ballots collected, but simply provides voters with the option to receive assistance if they wish, and choose someone they trust to submit their ballots.

Mailing In Your Vote: Important Dates

Voters in California and Michigan mail their ballots three days before Election Day. Each ballot is postmarked three days before Election Day and arrives the day after Election Day. Yet, only one ballot counts. Why?

Am I Eligible to Vote by Mail?

One important rule to be aware of when considering whether to absentee vote is if your state requires that you have a specific reason or “excuse” for absentee voting. Here are some of the key differences to be aware of.

Want to Vote Early? Here’s How.

This year many states have expanded early voting options to accommodate the effects of the pandemic. Whether your state offers in-person early voting or early absentee voting, make sure to make your voting plan.

First, We Register

In the United States, the first step to vote unfortunately isn’t as easy as just turning 18. You first have to register to vote and every state has different rules and regulations for this step that vary widely.

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