This Is Everything You Need to Know to Vote in the 2022 Midterm Elections
From voting registration deets to polling place info, we've got you covered.
The 2022 midterms are nearly here, and before Election Day on November 8, there is a surplus of information that every voter needs to know. Depending on which state you are registered to vote in, or which state you live in if you haven't registered to vote, there is a lot of info you'll need in order to make sure that your vote is counted and your voice is heard.
Below, Thrillist breaks down all of the most common questions about voting in the midterm elections. There is information on deadlines, ID requirements, how to vote early or by mail, and how to find your polling place.
What is the deadline to register to vote?
The deadline to register to vote is different in every state. The safest bet is to register as soon as you can—you can check how to register in your state and registration deadlines on Vote.gov. It's important to note that some states allow same day registration, online registration, and same day registration only for early voting. It is crucial to check the requirement before Sunday, October 9, 2022—that will be the deadline for 10 states.
Here's a breakdown of the deadlines based on how early you need to register.
30 days before: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas
29 days before: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky
28 days before: Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico
27 days before: Missouri
24 days before: Delaware
21 days before: District of Columbia, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, West Virginia
15 days before: Alabama, California, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota
14 days before: Wyoming
11 days before: Nebraska, Utah
10 days before: Massachusetts
8 days before: Colorado, Washington
7 days before: Connecticut
Same-day voter registration is available in these states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Voter registration is not required in North Dakota.
How do I check my voter registration?
Once again this depends on your state. You can check your voter registration status by heading to Vote.gov, where you will be directed toward the state-based information on checking your registration. You can also check via Vote.org which will lead you through a similar process. You can also help do this for family members and friends. It never hurts to verify that you are registered!
How do I register to vote?
This varies, again, by state. But fortunately, the folks over at Vote.org have a simple form you can fill out to register to vote—it will take just a few minutes to get started on the process.
How do I vote absentee or by mail?
You'll need to contact your local election office where you are registered to vote. You can head over to the Can I Vote website. Once there, you'll be directed to your state's instructions for voting by mail. Some states allow you to register online, while others you may need to call your election office or apply via mail.
Just keep in mind that one of the biggest reasons why absentee or mail-in ballots are rejected is because the way the voter signs their signature on the envelope doesn't match what the state has on file (usually from the DMV or voter registration records). Each state has a different rule, so just make sure you are aware of the requirements for your state before you mail in your ballot.
Make sure to mail your ballot in as soon as you possibly can, to ensure that it gets delivered and is counted.
Can I vote early?
Not to sound like a broken record but again this varies by state. Vote.org has a very handy table organized by state that will let you check if you can vote early in your state, and what the rules will be. The table will also include information about contacting your local election office for any questions you may have about early voting in your area.
You can also simply enter your home address on Vote.org's early voting page and determine whether or not you will be eligible for early voting.
Where can I see a sample ballot?
You can head to Ballotpedia and enter your address to view a sample ballot for where you are registered to vote.
Where is my polling place?
You can head to Vote.org to search for your polling location. You'll first need to select which state you are registered in. By clicking on the state you are registered in, you will then be directed to that state's specific polling place locator. You'll then be asked to enter information like your address, ZIP code, or county to get your specific polling location.
Can I still vote if I'm still in line at the time polls close?
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, if you're in line by the time polls close in your state, election workers are required to allow you to vote, so don't leave.
What form of ID do I need to vote?
It all depends on which state you live in. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) offers an interactive map that will tell you what you need to bring with you depending on where you live. You can also scroll further down for a table with detailed information about each state's requirements.
What's at stake in the midterms vs. a presidential election?
The midterms happen every two years, while presidential elections take place every four years. The midterm elections are when state, local, and congressional races are decided—though state and local elections can happen any year.
USA.gov explains the importance of the midterm elections as: “Congressional elections determine who represents your state in in the US House of Representatives and Senate. They also decide which political party will hold a majority in each chamber of Congress for the next two years.”
What else do I need to know to prepare for Election Day?
Before Election Day on November 8, 2022 you'll need to know whether you plan on voting early, by mail, or on the day itself.
If you plan on voting early or on Election Day itself, you will need to make sure you know where your polling location will be and what form of identification you need to show. If you are voting by mail, make sure you have given your local election office your current address and know the deadline to put your ballot in the mailbox.
Obviously, you'll also need to ensure that you are registered to vote. Check at least 30 days before the election so that you don't have to worry about registration cut-off.
Finally, take some time to read up on what's at stake in your election and familiarize yourself with your ballot. Local newspapers and news sites will likely be your best source of information to learn about the local races in your community.
Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.