What Does A Ballot Look Like? Election Day In Each State Will Vary
As Election Day draws nearer, voters are either already in the process of going to polls via early voting, or preparing to do so on Nov. 8. For those of you who have not already voted, you may be wondering what your ballot is going to look like on Election Day. As expected, ballots differ widely among states, but they all have some key similarities.
All 2016 election ballots will obviously contain a section to vote for President of the United States, or rather the electors who are pledged to either major party. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, along with their running mates, will be on all 50 states' ballots plus that of Washington, D.C. Additionally, Green Party candidate Jill Stein will be on the ballot in 45 states plus D.C., and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson will appear on all 50 states' ballots plus that of D.C. as well. Beyond these four individuals, additional presidential candidates may appear on different states' ballots, depending upon whether or not a party has ballot access in that state (party ballot access laws largely differ between states).
In addition to presidential candidates, congressional candidates for the House, Senate, or both (depending on where you live and whether or not your representative or senator is up for re-election) will also appear on the ballot.
Statewide measures constitute another common theme among most ballots across the country. Statewide measures are issues that are voted on by residents of an individual state. There are currently 156 statewide measures slated to be voted on during the 2016 election; while these measures differ from state-to-state, they have a several common themes. According to NPR, these themes include education, marijuana legalization (recreational and/or medical), election laws for both voters and candidates, gun control, tobacco taxes, and the death penalty.
Presidential and congressional voting as well as statewide measures are the common threads among all 2016 general election ballots in the U.S. Beyond those three sections, ballots will widely differ from state-to-state. Many states will have statewide office candidates present on the ballot, which include state senators and representatives, as well as state supreme court justices. Some ballots will also sections for local elections, including county judges, school board members, and other positions. A variety of ballots will include several local issues on which to vote; these range widely and can include everything from school and public transportation funding to parks and recreation issues, among a variety of other topics.
If you want to have a better idea of what your specific ballot will look like before you head to the polls, you can enter your address into Vote 411's ballot lookup guide and a sample ballot will be created which shows you all of the sections that will be included on your Election Day ballot. In addition to checking out your ballot, do not forget to verify your state's ID requirements ahead of going to your polling place in order to make sure that you can successfully vote and have your voice heard.