2018 Midterms FAQs

You have no excuses not to get to the polls. These FAQs should help you get there.

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PUBLISHED SEP 17, 2018

Let's start at the very beginning...what exactly are the midterms?

The Congressional elections that happen halfway through a presidential term. Aka in the middle. Every seat in the House of Representatives is up for grabs during midterms. This year in the Senate, there are 35 seats up for election. Plus some states and cities will vote on positions like governor and mayor.

What if I can't vote in person?

There's still no excuse not to vote. Because you can vote absentee.

How does that work?

The state you’re registered to vote in will mail you a ballot. You fill it out. And send it back. Easy. Every state offers an absentee ballot, but they all have different rules around it.

Like...?

*Excuse and no-excuse...some states require you to tell them why you can’t show up on Election Day.

*In-person absentee...some states let you apply, fill out, and submit your absentee ballot in person before Election Day.

*Permanent absentee...some states will automatically send you an absentee ballot for all future elections. Meaning: you don’t need to apply for one after the first time.

*All-mail...some states mail every registered voter a ballot before Election Day. And you can either send it back in the mail or submit it in person.

What's a valid excuse for a state that requires one?

Every State has different rules for valid excuses, but here are some examples:

- If you’re a student going to college out-of-state. Study abroad counts too

- If you’re traveling for vacation (oh hey, fall break)

- If you’re sick, injured, or have a disability that prevents you from getting to your polling place

- If you’re a military member, a military member’s spouse, or some other family member stationed outside your voting loc

For a detailed map of the state-by-state rules, see this.

Does it work like an in-person ballot?

Yup. You get to vote for the same candidates you would if you were at the polls on Election Day.

How do I request one?

Here. Once you get your ballot, you’ll want to fill it out and submit it ASAP. It typically needs to be postmarked before Election Day (or dropped off in person by Election Day), but each state has a different deadline. Find out yours here.

How do I vote if I'm living abroad?

There’s a special process for how to get it if you’re overseas. Go here.

What is my absentee ballot deadline?

You can check all of your state-specific deadlines on our No Excuses site. Just choose your state from the drop down menu here.

You mentioned early voting...

Yup. Some states let you cast your ballot in person before Election Day. Wanna know if this is an option in your state? We got you.

My address/name has changed. Do I need to re-register/update my info?

Yes. This process can vary depending on where you live. So double check. If your state says to submit a new voter registration, you can do that through our No Excuses site. Click ‘no’ when it asks if you’ve registered to vote. You’ll be prompted to fill out a new registration.

How do I switch political parties?

Re-submit your voter registration. Heads up that in general elections (like the midterms), you can vote for whichever candidates you want, regardless of which party you registered with. It can vary by state but if you want to be able to vote for a certain party’s candidates the next time there are primary elections, you should re-register.

Can I register without a driver’s license?

Yes, although you’ll still have to provide some sort of ID, like a state ID number or your SSN. And depending on your state, you may need some form of ID when you show up at the polls on Election Day. Closer to the day, our No Excuses site will have everything you need to know about what to bring to the polls.

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