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Elections Research Guide

Sources of information (primarily US) for elections.

Whether you’re taking classes from home, St. Louis, or somewhere else this semester, welcome back to a new school year! This semester features an important national elec­tion, and we want to ensure that you are familiar with the voting process so you can successfully vote this fall.

Step 1: Register to vote

If you have never registered to vote before or if you have moved since the last election, you will need to register to vote at your current address. You can register to vote using the TurboVote tool. Check out this video for a step-by-step guide on registering to vote on TurboVote.

If you are living in St. Louis this semester, you are eligible to register to vote in either Missouri or your home state. If you are taking classes from outside of St. Louis this se­mester, you should register to vote wherever you are staying.

The deadline to register to vote in Missouri is October 7, but we recommend you reg­ister as soon as possible. Check registration deadlines for other states here.

Step 2: Check your voter registration

All voters should check to make sure their voter registration file is active before the upcoming election. You can check your voter registration in any state here. If you just registered, it may take 1-2 weeks before your file shows up in the system.

Step 3: Figure out how you will vote

There are three options for voting: voting in person, using an absentee ballot, or using a mail-in ballot. You should consider how you plan to vote now so you do not miss any deadlines, especially for mail-in and absentee voting.


In-person voting is for individuals who would like to vote in person at the polls on Election Day (November 3). If you are in St. Louis, there will be a polling place on campus that St. Louis County residents can use. It is important to note that if you are ill, quarantined, or in isolation on Election Day, you will not be able to vote in person. If you have concerns about the potential of any of these scenarios, we recommend that you re­quest a mail-in ballot. If it turns out that you will be able to vote in person, you can still do so as long as you have not already voted using the mail-in ballot. Simply request that the poll worker spoils (cancels) your mail-in ballot when you go to vote in person.

Mail-in voting is an option for all Missouri voters without an excuse for 2020 elec­tions. If you would like to vote by mail, we recommend you request your ballot as soon as possible. For more information about requesting a Missouri mail-in ballot, including deadlines, addresses, and the step-by-step process, visit this webpage.

Absentee voting is for individuals who have a valid excuse to vote absentee on Elec­tion Day. You can find a step-by-step guide for how to request an absentee ballot us­ing TurboVote here. It is important that you request an absentee ballot before your state’s deadline.

Additional Resources from the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement

  • Voting Open Hours: September 17, 12 -2pm CT – Lindsay Gassman, Voter Engage­ment Fellow, will be online and available to also answer any questions you may have about registering to vote, requesting a mail-in or absentee ballot, getting involved in voter engagement, or other voting-related questions. Join here.

  • COVID-19 Voting FAQ – Unsure how COVID-19 is going to impact your voting plan? Visit our FAQ page here.

  • Civic Action Week – September 21-25 is Civic Action Week! Join the Gephardt Insti­tute on social media for a week of voting and Census action. Student groups who share our daily post for Civic Action Week on Instagram will be entered into a raffle to win up to $150 to use this semester. Each time you post to your story is another entry, so you can enter up to 5 times. Winners will be drawn at the end of the week!

For more information about events and resources related to voter engagement, visit washuvotes.wustl.edu or connect with us on Facebook or Instagram.