Be Prepared at the Polls

Your guide to what you should pack and what you should expect at the polls.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022 — and voters across the country have already been casting ballots through early and absentee voting. If you’re voting on Election Day, look up your polling place and hours to find out where and when you can vote.

Some states have strict rules about where you can vote, so check out Rock the Vote’s Know Your Rights page and get familiar with your state’s policies and your voting rights. Bookmark and/or screenshot the information so it’s handy for you or others in case you believe you are misinformed at the polls.

Be Prepared to Wait in Line 

Depending on where you live and whether or not your state offers early voting, sometimes there can be long wait times at the polls, so go early and prepare accordingly.

IMPORTANT: Stay in line, even if it’s past closing hours.

If the polls close while you’re still in line, stay in line—you have the right to vote. If someone tries to tell you to get out of line, don’t get out of line. Instead call 866-OUR-VOTE to report.

What Must I Bring With Me?

Many states have ID requirements, especially for individuals who are voting in that state for the first time, and states’ guidelines vary in terms of strictness and photo requirements. Find out what forms of identification you should take with you to vote.

If you filled out a sample ballot prior to voting, you should bring that with you to the polls. Your voting experience will be much more efficient if you have already selected your choices. Check out your ballot and find out who most aligns with your values using Rock the Vote’s Ballot and Endorsement Look-up Tool.


Save the Election Protection Hotline in Your Phone: 1-866-OUR-VOTE

Save the Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE in your phone’s contacts under a name you’ll remember. Call the Hotline with any voting-related question or if you run into any problems at the polls. The team of volunteer lawyers will answer your questions and record any issues so voting rights organizations can track and address trouble areas.

What Should I Wear to Vote? 

Most states ban electioneering/campaigning within a certain radius of the polling location. In many cases, that means you can’t wear anything that is explicitly for/against a candidate, campaign, or political party. That includes shirts, bags, pins, and hats. General pro-voting messaging is totally acceptable so feel free to sport your Rock the Vote swag!

Because there is a chance you might be in line for some period of time, wear comfortable shoes and layered clothing, as well as any provisions needed if you have a medical condition or disability.

After you vote, put on your “I Voted” Sticker and wear it proudly!

What Should I Bring With Me to the Polls?

Start making a list of things you may want to have with you. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Things for voting:

☐  Black pen (in case you can use your own when voting)
☐  Sample Ballot (with preselected choices)
☐  An acceptable form of identification (if required by your state)

Weather-related items:

☐  Layered clothing
☐  Umbrella (in case it rains or snows)
☐  Sunglasses

In case you have a long wait:

☐  Friends – Reach out to friends and family to see if you are voting at the same location and consider going together to keep one another company as you pass the time.
☐  Comfortable shoes 
☐  Folding/camping chair (if you need have difficulty standing, ask a poll worker about curbside voting)
☐  Phone (fully charged)
☐  Phone charger (in case there’s a place to charge)
☐  Headphones (non-battery)
☐  Book, magazines, holiday or thank you cards, deck of cards, homework, work, journal, latest knitting project – things to keep you busy
☐  Liquids (water and/or drinks)
☐  Snacks
☐  Chapstick, sunscreen, and/or lotion
☐  Any medical supplies

Address Any Scheduling Conflicts

In case there are long lines or wait times, you should proactively address any potential scheduling conflicts.

Some examples:

  • Arrange your work schedule so you can take off as long as you need whether that means notifying your boss, taking some time off, making a shift change, not scheduling meetings.
  • Check polling hours as many polling places will open early in the morning and polls in most states are open until 6:30 or later.
  • Don’t make any hard-to-reschedule plans that will force you to decide between canceling plans or voting.
  • Arrange flexible childcare so if you need to extend childcare hours because of travel or wait times, it’s ok.

Know Your Rights

Get information about your rights at the polls, what to do if you run into issues, and more.