They rejected my ID when I tried to vote! What should I do now?
Written by: Reid Magney
Eleven states will be enforcing new or stricter voter ID laws in 2022, potentially catching unsuspecting voters by surprise. In all, 36 states have some type of voter ID law on the books, some stricter than others. If you get rejected at the polls because you don’t have an acceptable ID, don’t despair! There are steps you can take to make sure your vote will count. But time is usually of the essence, and you must act quickly!
Read more below, or give us a call ASAP on our Voter ID Helpline at 844.338.8743. Our staff and volunteers are standing by and ready to help.
To learn more about how voting works in your state when you don’t have an ID or your ID is rejected, find your state’s voter ID information page here and scroll down to the Frequently Asked Questions section. Look for the FAQ called “What Happens if I Do Not Present ID at My Polling Place?”
If Your ID Gets Rejected
If you don’t have an ID or the poll workers do not accept your ID, don’t panic! Most states have procedures in place for voters who don’t have an acceptable ID. You should ask poll workers for an explanation of why your ID isn’t acceptable to them. Ask to see their list of acceptable IDs. Ask them if there are other ways you can confirm your identity without an ID. If you’re not getting understandable or straightforward answers, don’t be afraid to ask to speak with the polling place supervisor.
In many states, poll workers issue provisional ballots to voters without an acceptable ID. Provisional ballots may look just like a regular ballot (or they’re a different color). The difference is that they are placed in a secure envelope instead of the voting tabulator. That envelope has the voter’s name on it and other information that can help determine whether the ballot inside should be counted later.
In many voter ID states, voters who cast a provisional ballot are required to provide an acceptable ID later in order for it to be counted. If you’ve forgotten or temporarily lost your ID, you can usually go back to the polling place before closing time and show it, after which your ballot will be counted. Or, you may have a few days in which to get an acceptable ID, which you can show at an election office in order to cure your ballot and have it counted.
Some states’ motor vehicle departments have programs to expedite the process for issuing IDs to voters who need them in a day or two to cure their provisional ballot. Wisconsin is one such state.
In other states, such as Missouri, you don’t need to show an ID later. Instead, election workers will compare the voter’s signature on the absentee ballot envelope to the voter’s signature on file to verify the identity of a voter who doesn’t have an acceptable ID.
Each state has a slightly different procedure. To see how voting works in your state when you don’t have an ID or your ID is rejected, find your state’s voter ID information page here and scroll down to the Frequently Asked Questions section. Look for the FAQ called “What Happens if I Do Not Present ID at My Polling Place?”
If you’re required to vote a provisional ballot, make sure you get instructions that explain what IDs are acceptable to cure your ballot, as well as details about where to bring your ID and the deadline for doing so.
If you need help getting an acceptable ID to cure your ballot, please contact VoteRiders immediately through our Helpline: 844-338-8743.
Alternatives to Conventional ID
Some states offer other alternatives for voters who don’t have an ID or whose ID isn’t acceptable under state law, such as affidavits. An affidavit is a written document (usually a form you must fill out) that is confirmed by an oath or affirmation.
In Michigan, for example, you can sign an “Affidavit of Voter Not in Possession of Picture ID.” In Texas, you can fill out a form called a “Reasonable Impediment Declaration” stating the reason why you are not able to get an acceptable ID.
In some states, another registered voter who has an acceptable ID is able to confirm your identity.
Remember, being rejected at the polls or forced to cast a provisional ballot for reasons related to a lack of acceptable ID doesn’t automatically mean your vote won’t count. But time is usually of the essence, and you must act quickly!
Reasons Your ID Might Be Rejected
It is estimated that 11% of citizens of voting age – approximately 25 million people – do not have a current, government-issued photo ID. Some citizens don’t have any ID because it was lost or stolen, and they don’t have or can’t afford the documents to replace it. Most people have some kind of ID they use in everyday life for banking, doing business, or accessing government services. However, even if your ID works for most purposes, there are several reasons why your ID may not be on your state’s list of acceptable IDs for voting. They include:
- Your driver’s license or ID is from another state
- Your ID is expired or it expired before the previous election
- Your name on your ID doesn’t match your name on the voter registration list because you legally changed it
- The address on your ID doesn’t match the address on your voter registration because you moved
- Your state doesn’t accept (or only accepts certain kinds of) student IDs, employee IDs, permits, licenses, or citizenship naturalization papers
- Your ID doesn’t have your photo.
This is a partial list, and it may not be applicable in your state. You can find voter ID requirements and a list of acceptable IDs for every state at the VoteRiders website: https://voteriders.org/staterules. There is also a link at the bottom of each state’s page to the state’s election authority (secretary of state, election board, etc.), where acceptable IDs and other important information about voter ID laws are listed.
Other Reasons for Rejection
There are other reasons you may not be allowed to vote a regular ballot at the polls on Election Day – even if you have an acceptable ID. These include not being registered to vote or not showing up on the list of voters registered to vote at that polling place. You may also get a provisional ballot if you’re registered but you’re at the wrong polling place. For rejections not related to voter ID issues, please contact the Election Protection Hotline at 866-0UR-VOTE.