Frequently Asked Questions

About South Asians Vote

South Asians Vote classifies “South Asians” as individuals of all genders who identify with the ethnicity and/or ancestry of the South Asian subcontinent, which includes India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Tibet, and Burma. 

This also includes individuals of whose families left the South Asian subcontinent generations ago (ex. those of Indo-Caribbean descent).

There are approximately 2.5 million people of South Asian origin eligible to vote in the 2020 elections and millions more in the the United States that are not of age, not yet naturalized, or are on non-immigrant visas.

No, South Asians Vote is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to mobilizing civic engagement regardless of personal political affiliations.

The South Asian diaspora is a highly diverse community in terms of language, religion, age, socioeconomic background, and more. We believe the first step to making sure that our interests are represented in government is through civic engagement. Therefore, our main goal is to increase civic engagement by providing tools and resources for people to become involved and make their own choices. We recognize the spectrum of political affiliations and viewpoints. 

No, South Asians Vote is not-for-profit and volunteer-run movement.

Yes! South Asians Vote is a volunteer-led, not-for-profit movement and we can use your support to help cover hard costs. You can donate here. We appreciate any and all contributions, no amount is too small!

In the interest of transparency, a breakdown of our request: 
– $4000: Integration of vote.org’s premium registration and measurement tools directly on the South Asians Vote website. 
– $1000: Operational expenses including but not limited to domain hosting, administrative tools, analytics tools
-$2500: For digital marketing levers to broaden our reach among South Asians across the United States

About Voting

The US Presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

However, just to be clear, there are local elections, state elections, and federal elections. While we are currently focused on the Presidential election, please make sure you are up to date with all the elections that you are eligible to participate in.

You are eligible to vote in the election if you are a United Stated citizen, meet your state’s residency requirements, are 18 years old on or before Election Day, and are registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline.

You can check your registration status here. And if you are not registered yet, you can register here with our simple tool.

In the United States, eligible citizens are required to register, or “opt in”, to vote in elections. The registration process varies across the country and by election type. You can register to vote in less than 2 minutes with our easy to use registration tool.

You only need to update your voter registration if you have changed your address, changed your name, or need to change your political party. Click here for more information.

A ballot is a list of candidates and proposed laws that a voter marks indicating his/her vote. Ballots can be made of paper and marked with pen or can be electronic and marked with a push of a button or by touch screen.

After you register to vote, most states send out a “voter card” to let you know that your registration has gone through. The card also helps confirm that you’re registered to vote and confirms that your information is correct.

Note: Most states do not accept a voter card as a form of ID. Click here to find out what ID you will need at your polls.

There are many reason why eligible citizens may not vote. This includes:

– Candidate apathy and/or disinterest
– Incorrect identification
– Discriminatory practices in their locality 
– Lack of accessibility to polling place
– Felony disenfranchisement
– Difficult & confusing registration process
– Voting day falls on a working weekday

South Asians Vote is working to demystify the registration and voting process to make it easier to vote.

There are many ways to get involved, even if you are unable to participate in the election. Click here for more information.

One thing you can do is register as a future voter. A future voter is someone who is not yet 18, but is otherwise qualified to vote. A future voter can register to automatically become a registered voter when he/she turns 18. Every state has different rules for future voters. Click here to find out your state’s requirements.

There are several other ways to be involved if you are not eligible to vote as this time. Click here to find out more.

An incumbent is a person currently in a particular job or political office. For example, President Trump is considered an incumbent in the Presidential Election because he currently holds the position of President.

In the simplest terms, it is a group of people appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. This group of people are made up of electors or people who are certified to represent their state. The Electoral College are made up of representatives and senators in Congress. The electors vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state. The number of electors varies by state and is determined by the population in each state. The census, which is conducted every 10 years, helps determine the number of electors each state should have.

The popular vote is determined by the American voters. It is the total number or percentage of votes cast for a candidate and the candidate who gets the most votes nationwide is said to have won the popular vote.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help you. Please email us at info@southasiansvote.com and we’ll do our best to answer your questions. 

Registering to Vote

You can check your registration status here.

Voter Registrations vary by state. Visit Rock the Vote’s Election Center for more information on registration deadlines for your state.

Residency rules vary by state. Some states allow you to register to vote immediately upon moving, while others require you to be living in the state for a certain number of days before you register to vote in the next election. A state cannot require you to live there for more than 30 days before you can register to vote in that state.

Go to Rock the Vote’s Election Center for more information on your state.

Yes, you must re-register if you have changed your address, changed your name, or need to change your political party.

 

You can register to vote and request a ballot through Overseas Vote Foundation.

Yes! If you are a US citizien and live abroad, you can still vote in the 2020 election. Click here for more information on how to register and request your ballot. 

US Citizens living abroad should visit Overseas Vote Foundation for more information on how to register and cast your ballot.

 

The deadline to request and submit a ballot varies by state. Check with the Federal Voting Assistance Program for your state’s deadlines. 

If you did not receive your ballot by October 4, 2020, you’ll need to prepare a federal write-in absentee ballot. Click here to learn more. 

Yes. If you receive mail in a PO box, you can sign a statement or provide a letter from your college confirming your dorm address.

Go to Rock the Vote’s Election Center for more information.

A person is ineligible to vote in most states if he/she has been declared “mentally incompetent” by a court of law.

For more information on how your state defines this, get the information to contact your state at Rock the Vote’s Election Center.

Every voter, including voters with disabilities, has the right to cast a ballot. To learn more about your state’s National Disability Rights Network click here.

Additional resources for voters with disabilities can be found through the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and Nonprofit VOTE.

 

Your right to vote depends on your state if you’ve been convicted of a felony. Click here for more information.

 

Yes! If you are experiencing homelessness, you can still register to vote. You’ll need to provide an address when you register. This address can be a shelter address or the address where you sleep most often, like a street corner or park address. Providing an address will help assign you to a voting district. Click here to learn more about voting and homeless from Nonprofit Vote.

 

Voting Early & Absentee

Absentee voting (also called mail-in voting or voting by mail) is done when voters cannot be present at their polling place on Election Day. These voters send in an application to request a mail-in ballot, then receive the ballot, fill it out, and mail it back before Election Day.

Generally, people who are living abroad, serving in the military, traveling, or attending school in a different state than their legal state of residence vote by mail.

Note: Some states require a reason to vote by mail. Click here to find out your state’s rules

The rules on absentee voting by mail are different in every state and you must request a ballot ahead of time. Click here to request your ballot. 

In-person absentee voting is done when voters cannot be present at their polling place on Election Day and wish to fill out a ballot in-person before Election Day

Early voting is voting that is done before Election Day at designated polling places. No reasoning is required to participate in early voting.

Early voting rules differ by state and may not always be an option. Learn about your options here.

According to Rock the Vote, some states allow you to change your vote if you voted early. Please check with your local elections office to determine the rules in your state.

 

Both early voting and in-person absentee voting allow a voter to cast his/her ballot in person before Election Day.

In-person absentee voting requires voters to apply, receive, and then cast their ballot in person without providing a reason before Election Day. Early voting simply requires voters to cast their ballot in person before Election Day.

The difference comes down to how these votes are counted. Early voting ballots are counted as regular ballots whereas in-person absentee ballots are subject to the counting rules of absentee ballots.

Voting on Election Day

Click here to find your polling location.

Most states require some form of identification either when you register and/or when you vote. These rules vary by state. Click here to find the rules for your state.

First, make sure you are at the right polling place. If you are at the wrong polling place they will not have your name on the list of voters. If you are at the correct location and are not on the list, you can still cast a ballot. Ask the poll worker for a provisional ballot. After the polls close on Election Day the state will check on the status of your voter registration and if there was a mistake made. The state must notify you as to whether your ballot was counted. If you have a problem voting and think your rights have been denied, call the Election Protection Hotline at (866) OUR- VOTE (for English) or 1 888 274 8683 (Hindi, Bengali or Urdu). There will be lawyers there to help.

 

No, you are not required to vote for everything on the ballot. However, we strongly encourage you to do so.

Please take the time to understand your ballot ahead of time so you feel prepared on Election Day. Click here to understand your ballot.

Note: Voter guide information is published closer to the Election Day. Check back later to find your ballot information.

Call the Election Protection Hotline at (866)-OUR-VOTE (for English) or 1-888-274-8683 (for Hindi, Bengali, or Urdu) if you feel your rights have been violated. There will be lawyers available to answer questions and concerns about voting procedures.

 

One way to help out during Election season is by becoming a poll worker. Poll workers are people who work at the polls during early voting periods and on Election Day. They help set up polling places, check in voters, answer questions, and show voters how to use voting machines.

Any voter can file an application to become a poll worker. Click here for more information.

* Information for some questions was sourced from Vote.org and Rock The Vote.