Guide on How To Vote In Elections

Voting in US elections, both local and federal, is one of the most powerful ways to express your civil liberties. Local elections at the city and state level happen more frequently than presidential elections, making it important to know how to vote when an election does come along. Follow our guide on preparing to vote in presidential elections, and the next time any election takes place, you will be ready to vote. The Shutterfly Art Library has many designs to choose from to help you speak up about the issues you care about most. Use the Art Library to create custom products for issues you’re passionate about, including relevant themes like Cultural Moments, Covid Corner, Quotes, and other unique designs.

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Shutterfly art library. Choose vote artwork for vote merchandise.

    Read through our voting guide below. Then, when you’re ready to cast your vote in the next presidential election, you’ll also be ready to express your support for others to get out and vote—with products you can customize using our themes and designs. Grab your coffee to go in a custom travel mug as you head to the polls or get your home office ready for the presidential election with custom products that can be designed to fit the themes you care about most. Get started in just a few steps:

        1. Select your Shutterfly product, such as a travel coffee mug or canvas print.
        2. When you add photos to the item, you will see the option to use the Art Library.
        3. Add unique themes to your item that express your voice on important issues.

    Get excited for election day with answers to your questions like how to register to vote, where to vote, how to vote, when is voting day, and more as you prepare not only for voting day, but also for encouraging others to turn out for election day. Once you’re prepared to vote, express your enthusiasm for issues that matter with artwork you can add to ceramic mugs, wall art, and water bottles. Learn how to customize products using the Art Library, and explore Shutterfly’s unique designs themes here:

    Custom wall art canvas print designed with vote artwork

      How Do I Register To Vote?

        Before election day draws closer, it’s important you know how to register to vote, as well as where to register to vote. You can register to vote as a democrat, independent, republican, or one of the many other US political parties. Depending on your state and the deadline to register to vote, you can register to vote in several different ways:

            1. Online: Some states allow you to register online to vote.
            2. By mail: Mailing in your voter registration is available in some states.
            3. In person: You can register to vote in person at the DMV and some other authorized locations.
            4. Other: Voter registration requirements and deadlines vary by state, so be sure to consult your state’s guidelines to confirm how to register to vote.
            5. Conditional voter registration: If you missed the deadline to register to vote, conditional voter registration is available in some states, for select people who qualify.
        Custom sticker with voting artwork that says Go Vote for the 2020 election

          Where Am I Registered To Vote?

            If you believe you are already registered to vote, you can confirm your status using voter registration sites that will let you know if you are already registered to vote in your state. If you recently moved and had a change of address, for instance, you may need to register to vote again. Each state has different voter registration deadlines, so be sure to follow the guidelines for your state. If you believe you are already registered to vote, you can verify your voter registration here. Mark presidential election dates and deadlines on your vote-themed photo calendar with custom stickers supporting your vote, your political party, or your beliefs.

              Where Can I Vote?

                You can vote in your own state at the polls or with a mail in ballot, for presidential, state, and city elections. While elections vary by term length, some voting, such as for city laws, occurs annually. Learn more about where to vote below, including authorized sites for dropping off your vote-by-mail ballot.

                  Where Do I Vote?

                    If you are registered to vote and know who to vote for, all that’s left is to find where to vote, and you are ready to cast your ballot. You can vote in the presidential election in two ways:

                        1. Vote in person on voting day (or before) prior to polls closing.
                        2. Vote by mail using your mail in ballot before your state’s deadline.
                        3. Vote by dropping off your mail in ballot at an authorized ballot-drop box.
                        4. Take advantage of early voting, if possible, which is available in many states.

                    A stainless steel custom water bottle that says your voice matters to encourage voting

                      How To Vote By Mail

                        Mailing in your vote has become increasingly popular, and it’s a safe way to ensure your vote gets included in the presidential election without going to a polling station in person to cast your vote. Get started with how to vote by mail in a few steps:

                            1. Register to vote.
                            2. Select mail in ballot as your method of voting.
                            3. Receive ballot no later than 29 days before election day.
                            4. Mail in your vote before your state’s deadline.
                            5. Express your vote with personalized items that emphasize “I voted,” such as photo pillows, custom iPhone cases, and personalized puzzles.

                        Whether you choose to mail in your ballot or vote at the election polling station, be sure to vote with plenty of time to spare. Learn when to vote by researching your state’s deadlines for mail in ballots.

                          When To Vote In The Presidential Election

                            Depending on your state’s polls, you need to vote before the sites close on election day. Mail in ballots and early voting, which is available in some states, lets you vote early in the presidential election.

                            How To Find Vote-By-Mail Ballot Drop Boxes

                            Authorized, secure vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes are stationed throughout each city in the US. To find vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes and vote-by-mail drop-off locations near you, head to this voting site locator to find your nearest official ballot drop box. 

                              Pink custom magnet that has voting art that says vote now

                                Who To Vote For In Presidential Elections

                                Deciding who to vote for in the presidential election is an important decision for voters to make and should be met with much research. The following resources can help you get started with choosing who to vote for in the upcoming election:

                                    1. The Commission on Presidential Debates hosts the debates leading up to the presidential election. Use this resource to research candidates’ platforms and responses to each other’s political stances.
                                    2. All Sides is a news and media outlet that seeks to present unbiased information and reporting on presidential elections.
                                    3. The Associated Press prides itself on representing as many sides and voices as possible in its story coverage.
                                    4. Reuters consistently receives nods for remaining unbiased and reporting news in a neutral manner that allows readers to make up their minds on the news.
                                    5. FactCheck is a news tool that lets you do exactly what it sounds like: check facts for their accuracy and help you make voting decisions based on neutral information.

                                When Is Election Day?

                                  Electoral voting will be announced for the US presidential election at the end of voting day, unless there are outstanding circumstances that warrant a recount of voting results. Mark the day on your calendar, in your phone, and on your fridge with a custom magnet customized with voting artwork from the Shutterfly Art Library.

                                  On the evening of election day, you can tune in to watch the election as voting results come in from all around the US. The event usually garners a large number of viewers, with voters of all political parties watching closely to see which candidate will reach the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidential election. Read on more insight into how the electoral college system works below.

                                  Does Your Vote Count?

                                  Individual votes make up the popular vote in US presidential elections. When you vote for a candidate, your vote counts toward selecting a group of electors. Electors for each state then cast their vote for president, and they typically vote for their political party.  Read more on the electoral college system below.

                                  How To Make Sure Your Vote Counts

                                  Once you have sent in your mail in ballot, you can check the status of your vote online by checking with your state’s vote tracking system. Track your vote by confirming that your ballot has been received well before the deadline and ensure your vote counts. Every vote counts.

                                    What Is The Electoral College?

                                      The electoral college is a group of representatives from each state who are elected by the state’s people to represent their parties’ interests. The electoral college is formed every four years for the purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States.

                                      The electoral college is used to determine the winner of the presidential election over the popular vote to balance out the numbers of votes coming from more populated and less populated states. It also serves to balance out the number of individuals who choose not to vote.

                                        How Does The Electoral College Work?

                                          Democrats, Independents, Republicans and other political parties choose electors to represent their interests in the presidential election. Electors almost always vote for the candidate of their party. For this reason, the electoral vote closely reflects the popular vote. The winner of the presidential election must receive at least 270 electoral votes.

                                            What Is The Popular Vote?

                                              The popular vote is the number of individual votes each candidate receives from the entire US population. A candidate may win the popular vote by receiving more votes from the population than the other candidate; however, the electoral vote determines the winning candidate. 

                                              Because of the electoral college system, the president-elect (the candidate chosen by the electoral college) may or may not win the popular vote but can still win the electoral college vote, and therefore the presidency. It’s common for the president-elect to win both the electoral and popular vote, though the several past presidential elections have seen the popular vote won by one candidate and the electoral vote by another.

                                                Get Out There and Vote

                                                  By now, you should know the basics of voting in presidential elections—how to register to vote, how to vote by mail or in person, where to vote, when to vote, and even who to vote for. You should also be ready to vote in style, by customizing everything from fleece blankets to photo books to photo mugs with custom artwork from the Shutterfly Art Library. Show up to vote on election day in style.