Voting seems like such a simple task that you might take it entirely for granted. What more is there than just showing up to the polls, marking a ballot, getting your “I Voted!” sticker, and going on with the rest of your day?
In fact, there is much more to voting than meets the eye, particularly when you consider all of the rights you are legally entitled. Before you cast your next vote, you should know about and make use of these 12 voting rights.
The Right to Vote
Of course, you probably already know that you must be at least 18 years old to vote. However, you also have the right to vote if you are 18 and a legal U.S. citizen, a resident of the state in which you currently live, have no felonies on your criminal record, and have completed a successful voter’s registration.
If any question remains about whether or not you are legally registered and capable of voting, you still have the right to vote by provisional ballot. All polling places have provisional ballots on hand.
Accessible Polling Places
You have the right to vote in a polling place that is accessible to you and your current residence.
If you need assistance voting, such as if you are physically challenged or speak another language than English, you have the right to ask for help from the poll workers. Ballots in Spanish and other languages are available. Polling booths for individuals who are disabled are also available.
If you are new to voting or just not sure how to fill out your ballot, you have the right to view a sample ballot before voting.
You have the right to vote in privacy without anyone else seeing your ballot. You also do not have to tell anyone for whom you voted.
Freedom from Intimidation or Coercion
You have right to vote without feeling like you are being threatened or coerced into doing so. If you feel like someone is threatening you or intimidating you into voting, tell a poll worker immediately.
Receiving Ballot at Poll Closing
If you are in line to vote when the polling place closes, you still have the right to receive a ballot and cast your vote.
You have the right to receive up to two replacement ballots if your first one has been damaged or marked.
You can legally occupy the voting station for up to five minutes, even if other people are in line waiting to vote. You should not feel rushed to cast your vote and leave.
Having Your Ballot Counted
If you cast your vote in a legal manner and complied with all of the laws regarding voting in your state, you have the right to have your ballot counted.
If you feel that your voter’s rights have been violated in any way, you have the right to ask for the contact information for voting officials in your local area.
Many people are not aware of all of the rights to which they are entitled as voters. You can vote better by knowing these rights before you cast your next vote.