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Early Voting Starts Today in Five States. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Happy Monday! It’s a big day for early voting, with five states opening up polling stations to allow worm-getters to cast their ballots.

To figure out what's on that ballot, you can type the following secret code in Google: “What is on my ballot” (really!). You can use the trick for “Where do I vote.” (Google is our partner on Electionland. But come on, that's seriously useful.)

Here’s some other stuff you should know:

Arkansas

Officials here are expecting record turnout for early voting. So you may want to prepare for lines, especially on the first day when excitement is in the air. While local news recommends you bring photo ID, state law actually does not require it. If you’ve voted before, you do not have to present an ID to vote at all. If you are voting for the first time, any government-issued ID will do, as will a bill, bank statement, or government document that shows your name and address.

Colorado

Ballots have been out for quite some time in Colorado, as it is a vote-by-mail state. While thousands have already mailed their ballots in early, in-person early voting centers open today. If you look up your voting location, you’ll see that there are a number of different places you can vote. Workers there will print off your appropriate ballot on command! How handy. You can also drop off your ballot at any of those locations.

Florida

While early voting starts today in much of the state, it actually differs by county. Because, Florida. Voting hours also differ by location. Florida does require you to bring ID, but it does not have to be a government issued ID or even a photo ID. Student IDs and debit or credit cards are accepted. Find the full list here. If you don't have ID but are still registered, you can vote provisionally and your ballot will be counted so long as your signature matches.

Massachusetts

This is the first year Massachusetts has offered early voting. Cities and towns have set their own locations and hours, so make sure you check before you head out. You might be asked to show ID if it is your first federal election in the state, if you're an inactive voter, or, actually, if the poll worker just decides they need to see one. They must have a reasonable suspicion something is amiss, but that’s not well defined.

Texas

A record number of Texans have registered to vote, and many will be voting early. So, it’s a good thing that many areas are drastically increasing the number of polling locations. Dallas County, for example, has doubled the number of locations over 2012. Texas’ once-strict voter ID law was struck down over the summer, and the state adopted far softer requirements. While an ID will be requested, Texans without one can fill out a sworn statement and instead provide a one of a number of unofficial forms of ID. See the list here.

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Portrait of Jessica Huseman

Jessica Huseman

Jessica Huseman covers voting rights and election administration for ProPublica.

About Electionland

ProPublica’s Electionland project covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. Our coalition of newsrooms around the country are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation, and more.

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