Polling Places Close For The 2018 Midterms Later Than You Might Think In These Areas
The most important civic duty that you have as a citizen in a democratic country is voting in elections. In the U.S., you just have to be a registered voter who is at least 18 years old in order to cast a ballot — but in order to cast that ballot in person, you also have to know one more thing: when polling places close.
As with so many of the questions that you might have about voting in the midterms — or voting in general — the answer depends on the state where you're voting, according to Ballotpedia. In general, all of the polling places in the country will close sometime between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time. In a couple of states, however, you'll have to find your polling place using the address at which you're registered to vote, and then see how late it will be open. If you still haven't registered, there are some states where you can register and vote on the same day — the National Association of Secretaries of State website has tools for you to find out all of that information.
Most states, however, have things pretty well defined, and we'll list out all of that information here. All of the times listed here are local.
States With 6 p.m. Closing Times:
Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky.
States With 7 p.m. Closing Times:
Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming.
States With 7:30 p.m. Closing Times:
Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia.
States With 8 p.m. Closing Times:
Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin.
States With 9 p.m. Closing Times:
Idaho, Iowa, New York.
States With Mail-in Ballots:
Oregon and Washington. If you're registered to vote in one of these states, you don't have a polling location to go to. In Oregon, your mail-in ballot has to be received by 8 p.m. If you want to vote in person in Oregon, you can do that at your local municipal clerk's office. Washington, on the other hand, is an all mail-in ballot state, which means that there aren't any actual polling places. According to the website of the Washington Secretary of State, your ballot must simply be postmarked by Election Day, and it doesn't require postage. There are also designated ballot boxes where you can drop the ballot off — you can find them on the Secretary of State's website.
There are also a few states where things polling times are different across the state. In New Hampshire, it varies by municipality, as it does in North Dakota. In Nebraska, your polls close at 8 p.m. if you live in the Central time zone, and 7 p.m. if you live in the Mountain time zone. In Tennessee, you've got a similar situation, but different time zones; in the Eastern time zone, polls in Tennessee close at 8 p.m., whereas they close at 7 p.m. in the Central time zone.
If you're unsure about any of this, the best thing to do is either check with your municipality, or vote early — that way, you won't have to worry about squeaking in under the wire.