Everything You Need to Know About Voting this November

August 14, 2020
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The 2020 election is quickly approaching. In this blog, you will find information to help you prepare for the November 3rd general election.

What You Need to Know:

  • Visit our Election ‘20 webpage for up to date federal and state specific information on:
    • Upcoming key dates
    • List of candidates
    • How to register to vote
    • Absentee and mail-in ballots
    • Election Day FAQs
  • Learn about state polices and what is on the ballot
  • Find out which states have changed their voting procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic

What’s Happening?

Tuesday, November 3rd marks the 2020 general election. This year, the country will vote for the President of the United States for the 59th time. In a general election, there are also candidates for federal, state, and local officials on the ballot.

All seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election and one-third of the U.S Senate seats are up for election. To see if senators in your state will be on the ballot this November, see the list of seats up for election here.

Additionally, elections for Governor (also known as gubernatorial races) will be held in 11 states and 2 territories. To check if your state’s Governor is up for election or reelection this year, search for your state here.

Why is Voting Important?

One of the most simple and effective ways to advocate for issues that are important to you is by voting. Voting allows us to effect change in our country, state, and local communities. Your vote is your voice, which is why it is important to be an informed voter.

How Do I Register to Vote?

Each state’s registration deadlines and methods are different. You can find important information on how to register to vote or update your registration and more through the U.S. Election Commission. Click here to visit the website, and then click on your state to find registration deadlines. You can also find registration information for your state on our election website.

What are the Different Ways I Can Vote in my State?

In-Person Voting

Many states have changed their voting procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People choosing to vote in-person should be prepared for the possibility of longer lines and protective measures in place at the polls. Some states are planning to implement a variety of measures for in-person voting, such as:

  • The use of face masks;
  • Social distancing;
  • Temperature checks for poll workers; and/or
  • A reduction in the number of touch points for poll workers and voters.

Many Americans have expressed worry about in-person voting because of the virus. To provide a safer alternative to in-person voting, many states are expanding access to mail-in voting. More than thirty states and the District of Columbia already allow any registered voter to vote absentee without an “excuse.” Some states that required voters to provide an approved excuse to vote absentee have removed these requirements in light of COVID-19. Other states will allow fear of COVID-19 to count as an excuse to receive an absentee ballot.

In addition to registering and updating your voter registration based on your state’s guidelines, you should also be aware of mail-in voting options in your state or where you will need to go to vote, should you choose to do so in person. Many states assign voters to a specific polling location based on your address. To find out where you can vote in-person, check your voter registration or contact your state election office.

Absentee voting is typically when a voter requests a ballot, and is then sent an absentee ballot by mail, if they are eligible. Certain states require an excuse, such as disability or illness, to qualify for an absentee ballot.

Voting-by-mail is a process where all registered voters are eligible to vote-by-mail. Five states – Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Utah – mail all registered voters a ballot. With recent voting changes brought on by the pandemic, more states will now automatically mail ballots to registered voters, while other states will mail vote-by-mail applications. You do not need to provide an excuse to vote-by-mail in certain states.

As mentioned above, since some states will automatically send registered voters absentee ballot applications or ballots by mail, be on the lookout for these documents in the mail. It is very important to complete your ballot and return it by your state’s deadline.

This is an evolving situation as states will likely continue amending their voting procedures over the next few months. As the weeks roll by, states are releasing new voting guidelines. Examples of these measures include automatically sending every registered voter an absentee ballot application or prepaid return postage. However, in-person voting still remains the only option in certain states, unless a voter is able to provide an approved reason to qualify for absentee voting. Learn more about your specific state on our election website

Be Prepared to Vote

Once you have confirmed your polling location or determined that you will use mail-in voting, make sure that you have the correct form of identification required to vote.  Be sure to check your state’s voter ID requirements for in-person voting and absentee voting on the election website.

Your right to vote is impactful. Use your voice by researching the candidates and voting in the November 2020 election. Contact your state election office to find out what will be on your ballot ahead of time so that you can research issues that matter to you, choose candidates that represent those issues, and vote! Stay informed via social media and newsletters from trustworthy sources, watch the presidential debates on television, and learn about the candidates’ political positions on topics that matter most to you.

The Cancer Policy Institute

It is extremely important to be an informed, educated voter. The CPI has several resources to learn more about policy and advocacy, along with information about the legislative process, key terms, and more. These resources as well as the Cancer Policy institute’s policy aims and positions can be found here. Also, consider signing up to be an advocate through our Grassroots Advocacy Network. Our Grassroots Advocacy Network will help you stay up to date on voting information as well as issues impacting cancer patients, opportunities to engage, and more.


This blog is for informational purposes only; CSC is not seeking to influence your political affiliations or beliefs. Your decision whether or not to vote, and for whom you vote, is 100% voluntary.