There are seven steps voters should follow to make sure their vote is counted, according to the Voting Technology Project, which was established by Caltech and MIT to prevent a recurrence of the problems that threatened the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election. 

To help make sure all votes get counted as intended: 

1.Call your local election office to make sure you are on your precinct's list of registered voters. If you have moved, changed your name, or have submitted a new voter registration form since the last time you voted you may need to re-register.

It’s important to know whether or not you are registered when it comes to signing initiatives as well. For example, an initiative to decriminalize marijunana in the state of Wyoming requires a certain amount of signatures before January 2023 to see the Wyoming Patients Cannabis Act of 2022 and the Wyoming Cannabis Amendments on the 2024 ballot, but keep in mind, you must be a registered voter for your signature to count. 

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2. Get a sample ballot and read it carefully. Make sure your name and address are up-to-date and spelled correctly. 

If you do not receive a sample ballot in the mail you can contact organizations like the League of Women Voters or Project Vote Smart to get information about what will be on the ballot in your area. 

3. Bring your sample ballot with you to the voting booth. Your sample ballot has your registration information on it along with details about where and when you can vote, how your voting system works in your area and the choices you will have to make.

4. Try to beat the long lines by going to the polling place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on election day. The polling place is usually busiest when it first opens up, during lunch hour, and in the evening after people are finished working.

5. If you have to vote during a busy time, factor that in when you go to vote as the lines could be long. 

6. Be informed about your rights and ask for assistance if you need it. Every polling place should have a complete "Voter's Bill of Rights" posted explaining your rights. You can ask a poll worker to demonstrate how the voting system works if you need to.

Even if your name does not appear on the list of registered voters, you have a right to vote if you are registered in your precinct. Ask poll workers what to do if your name does not appear on the list of registered voters to make sure you vote in the precinct you are registered in. 

7. Double-check your ballot to make sure you voted the way you intended to. If you notice an error, like unintentionally voting for more candidates than you are allowed, ask a poll worker for a new ballot. 

A study conducted in the wake of the 2000 presidential election found that between 4 and 6 million votes were lost due to a variety of problems:

 

  • 3 million votes may have been lost due to voter registration mix ups
  • 2 million votes may have been lost due to faulty voting equipment and

confusing ballots

  • 1 million votes may have been lost as the result of polling place problems

 

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