Election 2016: Where to vote, how to vote, when do polls open, close

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2016 file photo ,voters line up during early voting at Chavis Community Center in Raleigh, N.C. More than a dozen states have enacted tougher requirements for registering and voting since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act three years ago. That has led to confusion and claims that certain groups, mostly minorities who tend to vote with Democrats, are being disenfranchised. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
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FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2016 file photo ,voters line up during early voting at Chavis Community Center in Raleigh, N.C. More than a dozen states have enacted tougher requirements for registering and voting since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act three years ago. That has led to confusion and claims that certain groups, mostly minorities who tend to vote with Democrats, are being disenfranchised. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

With only hours to go before Tuesday’s General Election, you’ve voted in the primaries, you’ve heard the speeches, you’ve seen the debates.

If you’re like everyone else in the country, you’ve probably had just about enough.

But in the event there are some lingering questions about what to do on Election Day, here’s a quick rundown of the process.

Where do I vote?

Polling places can change, so it's always good to make sure you know where to go to vote. You can call your local elections office to find out, or you can click here. If your polling place has changed, you will likely have received a new voter-registration card from your elections supervisor.

What time can I vote?

Depends on where  you live. Polling places in many states are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Some, however, open as early as 6 a.m. and some close as late as 9 p.m. Click here to check your polling-place times. Lines are likely to be long, so be patient. If you are in line to vote when the polls close, you will be allowed to vote. Your best bet for missing the long lines is to vote between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

I want to vote, but I’m not registered. What can I do?

If you are not on the rolls to vote, you can still cast a ballot. It’s called a provisional ballot, and it is counted separately from those ballots marked by those whose names appear on the list of registered voters. After the election and before the votes are certified, election supervisors will determine if you are eligible to vote, and if they see that you are, then your vote is added to the tally.

Do I have to show any identification to vote?

There are 32 states that have laws requesting or requiring voters to show identification at the polls. In the other 18 states, a signature, signing the polling book, or signing an affidavit will get you a ballot.

What can I bring with me to the polls?

You may bring a sample ballot with you into the voting booth in most every state.

When are votes counted?

The counting of votes begins when the polls close.

I’ve heard people will be watching the polls. Is that true?

Again, states have their own laws concerning that. Most states allow poll watchers, some allow candidates to appoint them, other states do not. Poll watchers are usually required to be registered voters.

According to The Associated Press, the Justice Department will send more than 500 staffers to 28 states on Election Day to monitor the polls. That would be a 35 percent reduction from the number four years ago, the AP reported.

What if there is a disputed outcome? What would trigger a recount of the ballots?

It depends on where you live. Each state has its own system. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia permit a losing candidate, a voter, a group of voters or other concerned parties to petition for a recount. Seven states do not. Recounts in those states  -- Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee – are triggered if the difference between the vote totals of the top two candidates falls below a certain number. Often that number is 0.5 percent  of the total vote. In some states, only a political party official may request a recount. In 17 states, a voter is allowed to request a recount.

Remember, a presidential election is not a direct national election. It is a collection of 50 (plus the District of Columbia) state-run elections.

Click here to see how it is handled  in you state.

Sources: Ourtime.org; National Conference of State Legislatures; Vote411.org

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