How to Fill Out a Voting Ballot

With U.S. presidential elections taking place in 2020, you may be anxious to vote in the election, especially if this is your first opportunity to vote. You may also be wondering just how to fill out a voting ballot. Here are some tips that will help you feel more confident when you go to vote for the first time.

Prior to Election Day

Before election day ever comes, you are going to want to make sure you are registered to vote in the precinct where you live. If you meet the requirements, you may be able to register to vote online, or you can register in one of the approved facilities for voting registration. Make sure you register before the deadline, as this may differ from state to state. You then should then receive a voter registration card.

Day of Voting

Arrive at the voting place with your voter registration card and an official photo ID (such as a valid driver’s license). Once you have been verified as a voter for that precinct, you will be allowed to enter a voting booth where you will fill out the ballot.

Various Type of Ballots

Different precincts may have different types of voting ballots. The types of ballots are paper and pen, punch system, computerized, and mechanical. No matter what type of ballot you need to fill out, it will contain the office you will be voting for and the candidates running for each office. There will also be a series of propositions that you may vote for or against. If you don’t wish to vote for a candidate for an office or for (or against) a specific proposition, you can skip over that choice and just fill out the candidates and propositions you do want to vote for.

Different Types of Ballots

Paper ballot (pen and paper): When filling out this type of ballot there is usually a circle or oval next to the various candidates names, as well as a circle next to the yes and no for propositions. Completely color in the circle or oval of the person or proposition you wish to vote for without going outside the lines. A volunteer at the voting location should provide you with the pencil and paper to vote properly.

Punch System: When using the paper ballot and punch system, simply punch out the indicated space for the office or proposition you are voting for. Try to make sure that the part you punch out is punched all the way out, so the hole is clearly visible.

Mechanical Voting Machines: When you enter the voting booth, there will be a list of candidates with black levers next to each name and large red lever at the bottom of the machine. Pull the red lever all the way to the right and leave it there. Next go down the list of candidates and select the one you want to vote for each in category and pull the small black lever next to that candidate’s name. Double check to make sure you voted for the right candidates. Once finished, pull the red lever back to the left and the machine will count your votes and then reset the machine for the next voter.

Computerized Voting Machine: You simply use your finger or a special computerized pen provided to click on your chosen candidate’s name.

You should now understand the basics of how to fill out a voting ballot. Filing out a voting ballot is not difficult, and it just may help determine who your next president and other elected officials may be. If you have more questions, USA.gov has additional information.